Protecting your voice

Local News

Using our voice is how we express ourselves. But if it becomes hoarse and raspy, it could be a sign of a medical condition. See how one man whose voice is his career found out how to protect his precious resource.

Nicholas Richberg’s voice is how he makes a living.

“I love being on stage, I love the connection with the audience,” Nicholas said.

But with performances up to seven times a week, it can put a strain on his voice.

Nicholas shared, “All of a sudden I started feeling like my voice wasn’t responding the way I would expect it to.”

David Rosow, MD, of University of Miami Health System says natural wear and tear on our voice happens over time.

“Just like we are more prone to having issues with our knees and joints and muscles, the vocal folds are no different,” stated Dr. Rosow.

And it’s not just performers.

“Teachers, parents, parents of small children, have incredibly high voice demands,” continued Dr. Rosow.

Doctor Rosow says if hoarseness during a cold lasts for more than two weeks, see a doctor.

“You feel like there’s been a change, it’s persistent and it’s not getting better or in fact it’s getting worse,” explained Dr. Rosow.

Nicholas was surprised to learn his hoarse voice was due to gastroesophageal reflux disease.

“It was acid that was coming up and washing over my vocal folds,” he explained.

Nicholas made some lifestyle changes.

“I couldn’t eat late after performances anymore, cutting out caffeine, cutting out alcohol,” he said.

He also learned vocal exercises – like light humming – to reduce inflammation.

“It’s how we communicate, to not have it working right is a scary thing,” exclaimed Richberg.

Nicholas also stays well hydrated and sleeps with his head elevated to keep his voice in check. Doctor Rosow says with age men’s voices tend to get a little higher, while women’s voices get a little lower.

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