Blog 6

Is Throat Clearing Bad for Your Voice?

Is throat clearing bad for your voice? The answer is yes. When we clear our throat or cough harshly, the vocal folds are slammed together. This builds up tension in the vocal folds. Slam them around a number of times and they will bruise. Eventually you could even get vocal nodules.

I recently attended a workshop facilitated by registered speech-language pathologist and voice coach Lori Holmes. She explained the reasons for throat clearing.

Throat clearing could mean one of three things…

  1. The vocal folds are naturally lubricated by mucus. But if the vocal folds are too dry, an excess of thick mucus could form on them. Alternately if we have a cold we’ll have too much mucus on or below the vocal folds.
  2.  Allergies can result in a scratchy, irritated throat. We might want to throat clear with the hope of feeling relief.
  3. Stomach acid reflux can make its way into the back of the throat and cause throat irritations that we want to clear.

What should we do instead of throat clearing?

Lori Holmes shared these great tips:

  1. Drink lots of water. It will thin the mucus. Even better if you add lemon to the water.
  2. Sniff and swallow .
  3. Take a hard swallow with the chin tucked.
  4. Huff a non-vocalized “H” into a Kleenex.

You can find Lori Holmes at Well Spoken