Prevent Vocal Chord Damage. the Advantages of Drinking Hot Water

Edited by Graciela Franchesca Rosario, Eng, Ermin, Nerissa Avisado and 16 others

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Having healthy vocal cords is very important, because without them, vocal expression may be lost. Our voice helps us communicate and express what we want to say, and many occupations depend on a healthy voice. Teachers, public speakers, and singers are just a few examples of positions that heavily rely on speaking. Keeping the vocal cords in top shape requires a few basics such as avoiding infections and inflammation, increasing the consumption of nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables, and taking modern or alternative medications. There is another option to prevent vocal cord damage and voice loss, and that's drinking warm water. Read on to learn more about why consuming warm water is beneficial for the vocal cords.

The Truth About Drinking Hot or Warm Water for Vocal Cords

Staying hydrated is one of the biggest keys to vocal cord health. To take care of the vocal cords, it's best to stick to room temperature or warm water. Very cold water or other fluids can inhibit muscle function, while very hot water can cause the muscles to relax too much. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, and try to sip it throughout the day rather than gulping it all down in one sitting. In addition to the 6 to 8 glasses of water, as a general rule of thumb, you should consume an extra cup of water for each cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage that you drink. Keeping your vocal cords lubricated will help them vibrate efficiently and reduce the occurrence of inflammation or irritation, and it helps you sing or speak more comfortably.

The Advantages of Drinking Hot Water

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    Did you notice that whenever you drink cold water, it makes you feel replenished but your vocal cords seem tightened
    Drinking water, regardless of the temperature, is actually good for the overall health. But, if you are a singer, a teacher, or a public speaker, you should not drink cold water as it can tighten your voice when you speak. This doesn't mean that you need to drink hot water, but lukewarm water will do to avoid muscle tension during expiration, such as when you speak or sing. Take note that cold water can promote muscle tension, which isn't desirable when singing.
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  2. 2
    Excessive coughing and throat clearing can irritate your vocal cords
    Coughing and throat clearing is uncontrollable when triggered by ailments like the common cold, flu, influenza or fever. Dry throat and thickened mucus are also associated with the aforementioned ailments. If you have one of these ailments, you may experience hoarseness and strained vocal cords. In order to reduce the thickened mucus and remove unwanted toxins and bacteria from your body, you should drink lukewarm or moderately warm water. Not only can water help you alleviate the pain in your throat, it can also help you achieve a healthy body.
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  3. 3
    Avoid overly hot or cold liquids
    Your vocal cords are very sensitive, and extremely cold or hot water can cause them to tighten up even more, making it hard for you to sing or speak well. While hot drinks are relaxing and beneficial for your voice, drinking them can cause esophageal cancer, IF excessively heated. How hot is too hot? If the water temperature is between 65 to 70 degrees Celsius, it can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Below this temperature is safe and healthy for the throat.
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  4. 4
    Drinking warm water can help normalize digestive tract issues
    It can also wash out unwanted toxins in the body - toxins can cause infection, thickened mucus, and even inflammation to some parts of your body, especially in your throat area, which hinders you from singing or speaking comfortably.
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  5. 5
    Drinking warm water can help you digest foods faster, thus avoiding stomach problems and discomfort
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  6. 6
    Drinking warm water can help increase the circulation to the gastrointestinal system and lower mucus production in mucus-producing systems of your body
    Mucus in some parts of your body is normal, and it acts as a protector from certain diseases. If mucus is triggered by infection and other bacteria, it can lead to mucus buildup. Phlegm is an example of a secretion of mucus brought on by diseases and inflammation. Drinking warm water can flush out mucus from the mucus-producing tracts in your body, especially your respiratory system. If you have a healthy respiratory tract, it can also help you keep your vocal cords healthy.
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Instructions on How to Drink Moderately Hot Water to Protect Vocal Cords from Damage

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    Drink lukewarm or moderately hot water 24 hours before vocal use
    Jeffrey Lehman, M.D. recommended drinking warm water 24 hours before using your voice. It is believed that water takes a lot of time to absorb into the tissues from the circulatory system, so that is why it is important to drink water hours before your big day. Using this method will ensure your throat is sufficiently hydrated. It can help get rid of thickened mucus and keep your body hydrated throughout your performance. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffees and sodas. Caffeine-free herbal teas are an excellent choice. Remember that caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration and dry out your throat, which isn't good for singers or those who use their voice for their work.
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  2. 2
    Use a gargle recipe to hydrate your throat
    In this part, you are required to use some ingredients to mix with warm water. If drinking hot or lukewarm water is a bit boring, you can try a gargle recipe. Dr. Van Lawrence, an international renowned laryngologist, recommended this gargle technique. According to Dr. Lawrence, you should add ½ tsp. of baking soda, ½ tsp. of salt, 6 oz. of distilled, warmed water, and ½ tsp. of clear corn syrup into a glass of water and mix them well. Gargle for two minutes, and do not rinse. You can gargle with the recipe as often as needed to help you alleviate your irritated, dry throat.
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  3. 3
    Use hot water vaporizers to hydrate your vocal cords
    Dr. Verdolini of the University of Pittsburgh Voice Center suggests the use of hot water vaporizers rather than cool-mist devices. The reason is that cool-mist devices mainly vaporize all in their reservoirs, including the germs and chemicals. On the other hand, hot water vaporizers produces vapor through boiling water. Since water has a decreased boiling point than most other chemicals, only water is transmitted into the air. This can help you reduce the risk of any diseases, such as esophageal cancer. Contaminated water and untreated water can be among the causes of the said disease. Drinking any hot water without considering the circumstances can also bring you some problems later on. It is necessary to consult your doctor before starting any extreme hydration programs. Large quantities of water can also be harmful for some people who have serious health issues.
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  4. 4
    Aside from drinking hot water, you may also try steam inhalation
    Breathing or inhaling steam is good for your voice box, otherwise known as the larynx. It can soothe and irritated or dry throat. You should breathe in the steam through your nose for five minutes, thrice daily, to keep yourself hydrated internally and externally.
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  5. 5
    Drink six to eight 8-ounce servings of water daily
    This is the recommended amount of water to drink for healthy individuals. These servings of water daily are equivalent to a total of 48 to 64 ounces. If you have not achieved the recommended amount, you may want to start adding some to reach 64 ounces daily. This can help you prevent your vocal cords from damage. It can also help you keep hydrated throughout the day. This amount doesn't take into account sweating or exertion from exercise or hot weather, consumption of caffeinated beverages, health issues or body weight and size.
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  6. 6
    Gargle with warm salt water
    Dr. Philip T. Hagen, editor in chief of Mayo Clinic - Book of Home Remedies, claimed that gargling with warm salt water can help one reduce the symptoms of common colds and flu, most especially during winter. Warm salt water can help soothe respiratory congestion, sore throat, and itchy, dry throat. Vocal cords may be affected if these symptoms occur. If you think you have a mucus buildup in your throat, you can gargle with warm salt water to reduce the risk of phlegm buildup.
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  7. 7
    Add lemons or honey into a glass of warm water
    Honey and lemons have vitamin C, which can boost the immune system and prevent you from getting diseases. Honey has natural antiseptic properties, and it can help draw out excess water from swollen tissues, so it's great for an irritated or inflamed throat. Drinking warm water with honey and lemons can prevent your vocal cords from damage.
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Tips & Warnings

  • Do not drink overly hot water as it can cause some adverse effects. Some researchers claim that overly hot water can cause esophageal cancer.
  • Before drinking large quantities of water, consult with your doctor. Some health issues require careful water regulation.


Questions and Answers

Does hot tea cause vocal cord damage?

Tea contains caffeine that can dry the vocal folds. Caffeine has a diuretic effect, causing you to make frequent trips to the bathroom. If this does not lead to severe dehydration, it can still significantly reduce the amount of saliva and mucus in the mouth, throat, and larynx where the vocal cords are.

If you really want to drink tea, choose caffeine free or herbal varieties. Add a tinge of honey to enjoy the soothing effect on your vocal cords. Lemon tea is also a therapeutic alternative.

Actually, if it is not too hot. Then it's fine it won't damage your vocal cords. But do put in mind to not drink tea which has a caffeine, because the caffeine can make your voice dry. So, it's really safe to drink some hot tea but not too hot and also does not contains caffeine.

How do hot or cold drinks affect your voice?

While drinking plenty of liquids helps hydrate the larynx to perform its function in producing a good quality voice, there is a need to observe certain restrictions as to how cold or how hot drinks should be to protect your voice.

It's always assumed that room temperature water is best because it won't shock the vocal cords in the same manner as when you drink hot or cold water. Drinking either hot or cold will stun and stress out the vocal cords. This is particularly true when you consume ice-cold food and drinks that can cause the throat to tighten. If you must drink a hot or cold beverage, it's better to let it cool down or warm a bit to get closer to room temperature.

A hot drink will cause your throat to swell up from the heat or be burned from the hot drink which will also cause your throat to swell itself up.

A cold drink will cause your throat to become stiff which is why room temperature/warm drinks are recommended in terms of drinking before singing or to keep your voice healthy.

Can a cough destroy your vocal cords?

Coughing is the body's natural reflex to get rid of foreign bodies, mucus and other irritants invading the respiratory system. It is the act of forcefully expelling these irritants out of the human body.

However, when a cough becomes persistent and lasts longer than it should, it can transform into a health problem. It can cause physical exertion not only to the outside body, but also to your internal parts. Aside from potentially rupturing the small blood vessels in the airways, coughing violently slams the vocal cords together, resulting in inflammation. The usual pain in the throat or neck area accompanying severe coughs can be an indication of infected vocal cords.

The cough is just the way to get away the phlegm and other irritant in the throat. It affects the vocal cord if you let your cough last longer, you don't heal yourself or you don't take your medicine and the result will is it will give damage in your internal parts. So if you have a cough, as soon as possible you must consult your doctor, take your medicine, rest and drink a warm water.

How to reduce mucus production that hinders singing?

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Mucus production despite its sticky and gooey texture actually plays a very important role in our body's overall grind. Mucus secretions are made up protein that lubricate and moisten varied organ systems and mucous membrane that line up the nasal passages, mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, and intestines which prevent cracking or drying up. This serves as a protective barrier that blocks all harmful pathogens that may wreak havoc in the body. Its viscous consistency enables mucus secretions to screen and trap certain impurities such as allergens, bacteria, and other foreign materials before it can invade vital organ systems specifically those that can hamper an individual facilities for breathing or the respiratory system. Yes, even healthy people produce around 1.5L of mucus on a day-to-day basis which helps the body engines running in tip-top shape. However, the danger or discomfort comes in when a person starts to produce excessive mucus or if the consistency becomes thicker than usual which can interfere with vocal performances or become a nuisance in your daily routine.

There are different trigger factors that result to overdrive in mucus production which consist of environmental pollutants such as dust, pollen, smoke from vehicles, industrial fumes, cosmetic sprays, powders, inhalants, pet danders, chemical formulas such as paint or household cleaning agents; and the like. Your lifestyle and the people around you can also exacerbate mucus secretions such as cigarette smoking, use of illegal drugs, or poor diet. Passive smoking is regarded to be equally as dangerous with that of active smoking. Certain food choices such as spicy food or dairy products can also precipitate increased mucus production especially if you have persistent food allergies. Also, certain illnesses could be the culprit behind the frequent sniffs, sneezes, and blows such as common cold or cough, flu, sinus allergies or infections, asthma, hay fever, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, head trauma, and respiratory edema; to name some.

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Too much of anything is definitely out of the ideal and unhealthy. As much as mucus helps with the lubrication of the vocal cords used in singing, too much mucus production can be a hindrance to a grand vocal performance. It interferes with vocal power and clarity; therefore it is a must that a singer must know the biological processes, trigger factors, and the effective ways or treatment methods to reduce or alleviate excessive mucus production. It all starts with good vocal hygiene and practices. Here are some of the top proven ways to lessen mucus production:

  • Maintain proper hydration. It is recommend to drink more water and steer clear from carbonated or alcoholic beverages. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily to maintain proper lubrication of your vocal cords and to clean up excess sticky mucus covering the folds.
  • Use saline solution nasal spray to unclog mucus buildup in your nasal passages that could trickle down the throat causing postnasal drip that can affect your singing voice.
  • Anti-histamines or decongestants are also recommended for alleviating constricted or blocked nasal lining due to too much mucus secretions. Go for prescribed medications. Read labels and always follow dosage, contraindications, and precautions as advised by physician.
  • Avoid specific foods or beverages like fried, spicy, or dairy dishes that can trigger food allergic reactions such as itching, rashes, difficulty in breathing, and extreme mucus buildup in your nose or throat.
  • It is advisable to gargle warm saltwater solution to soothe irritated throat and loosen up excess mucus piled up around the vocal cords.
  • Go for steam baths that prove to be very relaxing and rejuvenating. You can put saline solution, eucalyptus oil, or any mint herb that can help loosen up and safely unclog sticky sputum in the nose, throat, and vocal cords.
  • Opt for warm mist humidifier or vaporizer with eucalyptus oil to cut off sticky phlegm.
  • Avoid cigarette smoking or hanging around people who smoke before or after a performance.
  • A mix of ginger and honey in a drink can help soothe your vocal cords.
  • Maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits and veggies which works well in eradicating too much sputum production caused by certain nutritional deficiencies. This is also a good practice for dieters who eat for a versatile vocal range as well as vitality in mind and body.
  • Take nutritional supplements such as vitamins C, A, E, and zinc to boost your immune system and help lessen mucus production.
  • Sugar-free lozenges are advised for those who have sore throats due to too much phlegm buildup.
  • Drink warm water or hot tea. Never rattle your vocal cords with ice-cold water or extremely hot beverages especially with inflamed vocal cords.
  • Pamper yourself and indulge in a long and relaxing body massage.This helps detoxify and rid your body off harmful toxins that reduce excessive mucus secretions.
  • Keep fit and stay active by doing regular routine exercises or engaging in sports. These physical activities work not just by strengthening your muscles, helping you lose weight, but also is involved in promoting overall health.

It is wise to note that when the body produces copious amounts of mucus, this is actually it's natural protective mechanism or defense against any pathogen invasion. The purpose of the heightened mucus secretion is to drive away or inhibit any foreign materials, allergens, or harmful microbes from entering the body. Vocal prowess is not just mainly focused on technique but also goes hand in hand with attitude, discipline, and practicing proper vocal hygiene. It is important to have a healthy mind and body as well as a finely-tuned and lubricated vocal cords to be able to give out a stellar performance that deserves an encore.

How hot water damages your body when drinking it?

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There is very little known scientifically proven damage caused by drinking hot water besides the fact that scalding-hot water is never advised to be downed outright as it can cause burns in the oral cavities or throat region. This goes without saying and is dictated by pure common sense and instinct. There is a cancer myth going around that hot water or tea can cause esophageal cancer; however this is yet to be fully tested and explored before any further conclusions are made. In fact, there are a lot of health benefits proven to be derived from drinking hot water than cold water especially with meals as practiced in Chinese alternative medicine. Even though most people prefer drinking ice cold water especially in hot days, health experts agree that hot water highlights more health benefits with every gulp. Check out some of the amazing advantages of drinking hot water:

  • Facilitates healthy bowel movement. It is recommended to drink a cup of hot water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to avoid constipation and promote healthy digestion. This allows easy passage of food particles to encourage regular bowel movement.
  • Aids in weight loss. People who would want to shed off the excess pounds should drink more hot water or lemon tea to speed up metabolism and fat-burning capacity of the body.
  • Promotes youthful and glowing skin. Drinking hot water help improve skin elasticity which enhances firmness and minimizes pores. This helps maintain a supple, glowing, and wrinkle-free skin.
  • Improves blood circulation. Hot water helps the body maintain normal blood circulation volume levels which helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and other associated anomalies.
  • Enhances detoxification. Make it a habit to drink hot water every morning to enhance the body's innate ability to flush out free radicals that can cause cancer and other types of illnesses. This triggers sweating which help the body eliminate harmful toxins. A mix of honey and lemon can make your hot drink extra delicious and potent in combating variety of diseases.
  • Ease dysmenorrhea or any body pain. Menstrual spasms or cramps are quite normal if you have your monthly period. Drinking hot water can help calm your nerves and relax the abdominal muscles which ease agonizing menstrual pain. This also helps soothe common headaches, gastrointestinal pain, bloating, and dyspepsia; among others.
  • Helps ease sore throat. Hot water with a dash of ginger, lemon, or honey can help soothe and relieve sore throat, hoarseness of voice, or inflammation.

A cup of hot water or tea everyday is highly recommended by dietitians as it is known to be anti-carcinogenic, adds up to overall cardiac health, and helps with proper food absorption and digestion. Recover fast and be in your best form with a daily cup of hot water to jumpstart your day.

The hot water, if it is hot enough can damage your throat by burning it. The damage will be mostly superficial surface damage, but can lead to much worse if not carefully taken care of.

Singers recipe for vocal chords to replenish?

Vitamins A,E and C will help you in order to restore your vocal chords as well as keep mucus from forming in your throat.

See more questions like this: I am a singer singing at home, are boiled eggs good for your vocal cords

Vocal chord rejuvenation drink?

The vocal cords need to be well-lubricated to reduce voice strain and to be able to produce good vocal quality whether you are singing, making a speech, or for daily communication purposes. Proper hydration is very important to ensure that your body remains oiled up and nourished for day-to-day tasks. The vocal cords do need to be well-hydrated for top functioning. Vocal cord rejuvenation drinks are liquids that keep your throat and vocal cords healthy and improve overall vocal performance. Here are some of the top choices for rejuvenating drinks:

  • Water. This is still the best option for overall nourishment and maintenance of vocal cords and varied organ systems. Avoid drinking cold water as this can tighten up or constrict your vocal cords. Warm water still works best for the throat. This is also proven to aid in better digestion. Drinking more water helps flush out any sputum or phlegm buildup and also effectively lubricates the vocal cords.

  • Hot Tea. The best options would be the classic green tea, lemon tea, and licorice tea. You can experiment and add herbal mint varieties or honey for that extra flavor that also helps soothe your vocal cords and throat.

It is recommended to reduce intake of certain drinks that can irritate or dry up your vocal cords such as dairy, coffee, alcoholic beverages, milk, citrus juices, and soda. You can opt for warm salt gargles or throat lozenges as an added home remedy option that can soothe the throat and lessen excessive mucus production.

My ENT doctor told me it takes 48 hours for water to reach vocal cords?

My ENT doctor told me it takes 48 hours for water to reach vocal cords??? Then others say 20 minutes? Who is right? And where do I find this information online? Thanks Jerry D

The absorption process does take some time because it has to go through your digestive system first and then get absorbed into the bloodstream before it gets transported to the other parts of the body. Therefore, your ENT doctor is right in saying that it takes 48 hours, especially if you are talking about internal absorption.

However, if you are just talking about topical type of hydration of the vocal cords, it definitely should take a few minutes only before it can start to nourish your vocal cords.

Also, keep in mind that if you do hydrate yourself on a regular basis, you almost would not notice the 48 hours process as your body is constantly processing water anyway. There will be no time that your body is not properly hydrated.

Can drinking warm water help me sing higher pitches of song?

Reaching higher pitches of song by drinking warm water

By drinking warm or room temperature water you are hydrating your vocal chords. This of this like when you put a lid on a pot of water to help it boil faster. When you hydrate your vocal chords it allows you to hit higher notes without strain.

Voice is not there since more than one month?

After severe drug antibiotic reaction I got severe cough problem, and after 3 to 4 days my voice had gone. It happened in 11th of July, till now my voice didn't come back yet. Doctor told me that in my vocal cords nodules has developed. He advised me for a complete voice rest. Can you give me some good suggestion which will help me to recover fast

As your doctor advised, complete voice rest is very important when healing vocal cord nodules. Even whispering can contribute to additional damage. Staying fully hydrated with warm or room temperature water is another important factor, as well as humidifying the air, according to

How do I improve my voice, I really want to be a good singer?

What should I consume? Is hot water good for the vocal chords

Hot water isn't good for the vocal cords, since it can cause the muscles in the throat to relax too much. It's best to consume room temperature or warm water below 65 to 70 degrees C.

I have been asked to sing in the choir at church but it seems like I practice and now my throat has tightened up?

Should I rest my voice or drink warm water or practice more?

Rest your voice, drink warm water and start slowly doing vocal exercises. Do not strain your voice during the exercises but instead do a few then pause and drink warm water before you continue again. Adding a bit of lemon and honey to warm water will soothe your damaged throat.

I am doing a project for my school and its about if water can change the tone of your voice, what type of water is the best for your voice?

Do you think that drinking warm, cold or lukewarm water would be best for your voice?

Lukewarm water is the best option for your voice. Hot and cold water have different impact on a voice. With lukewarm water, you are almost drinking at the temperature of your body.

How do I raise my speed when switching notes for singing?

I notice that I am very very good at changing my pitch. I can say with 3 cents of whatever note I'm trying to hit, however, I can not seem to change notes very quickly like some popular singers when they arpeggio their voice. A very good example is Charlie Puth's song "We don't talk anymore." I want to be able to hit notes like that as fast as he does, what can I do to achieve this goal? I'm asking a very specific question for a very specific style of music. I have tried: I've tried practicing my range faster and faster,. As well as singing the song over and over. I think it was caused by: I think this has little to do with practice and more to do with it being a new technique that I have yet to learn

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What is the proper way to gargle with salt water to heal sore and inflamed tonsils?

I am a singer, I am singing in NYC in 2 weeks for one night, my tonsils are red, and inflamed and so is my throat. What is the best technique when gargling with warm salt water? Where should my tongue be or does that not matter? Will the salt water still hit my tonsils no matter how I gargle? I also get tonsil stones, does gargling help get rid of and prevent them?

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I could sing soprano before and now my voice even cracks when I talk?

I used to sing very high notes after a while I stopped and now I can't even reach as high as before and when I talk my voice cracks. The article is just telling us how to keep our voice healthy but I have tried all those methods and it does not work

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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