Ear Nose and Throat

Ten Do’s and Don’ts in Taking Care of Your Voice

Most of us neglect our speaking voice because speaking is a part of life. However if you have had laryngitis in your life, or episodes of hoarseness, that may be the time you appreciate your voice. As we grow older, we tend to form bad habits which are hard to reverse. This blog will discuss some of the do’s and dont’s of taking care of your voice.

1. DO- BE CONSCIOUS OF THE QUALITY OF YOUR VOICE

Be conscious of the pitch of your voice. Try to speak in a natural, unstrained manner, not too high, not too low. Be conscious of the volume of your voice as well. If you are talking to one person, you can go near that person and talk in a moderate volume. Be conscious of the speed you are talking in as well: a faster speed may result in a more strained voice.

2. DON’T: TRY TO TALK OVER A LOUD ENVIRONMENT

If you are a teacher, ask the class to keep quiet first before talking to the class; do not shout over the noise. If you are a call center agent, make sure that your environment is not that loud. Be conscious when shouting while trying to talk in a bar or a concert. You may wait for the music to go down, or you can step outside the noisy place.

3. DO : LEARN TO REST

If you are a voice professional, learn to rest your voice when you are not at work. Also, when you have hoarseness, do not push your voice because that will worsen your condition and make the recovery time longer.

4. DON’T: WHISPER

This is contrary to what most people think that whispering is good because it seems to be a lower volume of voice. When you whisper, you are actually straining your voice instead of helping it. Instead, speak in a natural manner, but with a lower volume.

5. DO: REALIZE THAT YOUR GENERAL HEALTH AFFECTS YOUR VOICE

A healthy diet and exercise affects not only your general health but also your voice. Conditions such as allergies, post-nasal drip and acid reflux are deleterious to your voice: if you have these conditions, have yourself treated by a doctor. Since your voice is very much dependent on the core and breathing, a good exercise routine will greatly help with voice production

6. DON’T: DRINK ALCOHOL OR SMOKE

Smoking and alcohol are bad. Enough said.

7. DON’T EAT FOOD EXTREMES

Be conscious about eating extremely spicy food and extremely sour food. They may irritate your throat. Also be conscious about eating or drinking extremely hot or extremely cold food and beverages.

8. DO: HYDRATE

Think of your vocal cords as a car engine. As your car engine needs oil to avoid rust in the gears, as well as for lubrication in the movement, your vocal cords need water to stay hydrated. A dry throat may be painful and may lead to the bad habit of throat clearing

9. DON’T: CLEAR YOUR THROAT

Clearing your throat only scratches the vocal cords together in a vigorous manner and may result in inflammation and swelling.

10. DO: CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR

When you have hoarseness for more than 2 weeks, it is best that you go to your ENT doctor to have it diagnosed and properly treated.

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What Food Should I Eat When I Have A Goiter?

I get asked these question a lot by my patients: “What are the food that I should avoid if I have goiter?”

“i’ve read online that i should avoid cassava, kale, broccoli, cabbage.

” Should I eat a lot of iodine rich food?”

There is just soooo much data online that it gets confusing especially because what one website says is allowed, is suddenly advised to be avoided in another website.

First let us discuss goitrogens. Goitrogens are substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. Some goitrogenic foods are include Brussel sprouts, cassava, turnips, radishes,cabbagekale, broccoli and cauliflower. Goitrogens are thought to cause thyroid enlargement because interference with iodine uptake results in decrease in production of thyroid hormones resulting in a negative feedback to the brain resulting in an increase in the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). If the thyroid cant keep up with the increase in TSH, it will grow bigger trying to produce hormones, resulting in goiter.

However, when you analyze it, the said “goitrogens” have so many health benefits that outweigh the risks when taking them. Furthermore, when you cook these vegetables, it will decrease their “goitrogenic potential”. So what I usually advise my patients is that it is ok to eat these goitrogenic foods, just keep the intake in moderation.

I only follow two strict rules when advising patients with goiter:

1. If you have HYPERTHYROIDISM or an excess of thyroid hormones, you would want have a low iodine diet because iodine is the “food” of the thyroid gland, or the pre-cursor in producing thyroid hormone. Since you already have too much thyroid hormones, you would want to lessen production

2. AVOID eating processed meat because of the higher levels of nitrite from animal sources. Chronic exposure to high levels of nitrate led to development of hypertrophy and goiter