Some people become happy when their voice gets raspy because, with a raspy voice, they can now sing like Bryan Adams or Rod Stewart. However, kidding aside, if your voice suddenly becomes harsh and raspy, it should sound an alarm on you, for it may indicate that your vocal cords are already too strained, and you need to take things slow with your talking or singing.
The vocal cords, as a tool, can get tired due to constant strain. As a result, they do not come together nicely. Hence, it is crucial that you rest your voice when hoarseness sets in to avoid long-term damage to your vocal cords. Nevertheless, if your voice has already been raspy ever since you first uttered your first word, by all means, you do not need to become fidgety about your hoarse voice.
Possible Causes of A Raspy Voice
Several reasons may be the cause of a raspy voice. First, it may be due to your genes, with your vocal folds configured since birth to create a hoarse and raspy vocal sound. It can also be due to singing too soft in your higher register.
When you sing using the higher register, your vocal folds require more air and power to reach the higher notes. If you don’t get enough air supply, your voice will begin to be breaky and raspy. So, to avoid such a thing, you should practice correct breathing and refrain from too much straining your voice.
Another cause of a raspy voice may be due to your throat being scratchy and dry. It may also be due to an inflamed larynx (laryngitis). It may also be due to stomach acid reflux, tobacco smoking, drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, screaming, allergies, inhaling toxic substances, or excessive coughing. So, if you have a persistent raspy or hoarse voice that lasts for more than ten days, you should seek medical attention.
Solutions to a Raspy or Hoarse Voice
If your hoarse voice is due to vocal strain because of prolonged talking or singing in a higher register, you might as well follow the following tips:
You Should Sing with Enough Volume and Pressure
To avoid getting your vocal cords strained or your voice getting raspy when singing higher notes, you need to know how to sing higher notes. When you push while singing or speaking, you can damage your vocal folds while ruining your tone and pitch at the same time.
So, before singing higher notes, know your voice. If you are a baritone or an alto, don’t fancy yourself singing higher notes. If you’re an alto, for example, your vocal range is approximately between G3 to F5. So, don’t attempt to reach the high C.
However, if you are a bass singer, your voice may range between the second E below middle C to E above that of the middle C. Hence, don’t ever attempt to over push your voice beyond that. It will be helpful to know your natural range and stick to it.
Another thing is that you need to learn vocal warmups or exercises. Besides, you should relax your face, learn the correct breathing methods, stay hydrated, and know your body.
Your voice needs a specific amount of pressure and volume to reach a given pitch. You need to build up for such volume and pressure and set up your vocal folds the right way. It will help to learn how to approach higher notes with more good resonance and robustness.
Support your vowels with the correct shapes of your lips. It will help, too, if you choose songs that are within your vocal range or tessitura. In this way, you will feel comfortable to deal with the notes of the music piece.
Learn the Proper Vocal Folds Closure
There are various ways to keep your voice in peak condition. But once you’ve reached this peak condition, you can then use your voice correctly. You can also learn the proper vocal cord closure. Proper vocal cord closure doesn’t mean that you let your vocal cords partially close when you sing, for this will only create an airy sound and get air wasted.
Moreover, the air that hits the vocal folds dries the vocal cords quickly. So, it will help to sing with your vocal cords completely closed or touching each other fully. Your vocal folds should either be open or closed when you sing, and it will be useful to remember this.
People with a hoarse or raspy voice have vocal cords that are slightly open or have a gap. Thus, their vocal folds do not come together, creating a raspy and hoarse voice.
Aside from singing with closed vocal folds, it will help to learn the glottal stop. Glottal stops are consonants that you produce with closed vocal cords, followed by a release of air. You make glottal stops most of the time, and you can define glottal stops as the closing of vocal cords.
Practice Vocal Rest
Your vocal folds may get fatigued and strained when you use them often. So, it will help to strengthen them through constant vocal exercises. Nevertheless, you should be mindful of your throat and know when to provide your voice with rest. Your vocal cords are often functioning when you speak, and as such, they can get strained.
For example, when you sing or talk, your vocal cords’ surfaces vibrate and rub with each other. The support muscles also switch off and on many times per second. So, if you sing a lot, your vocal mechanism does its job with no time to rest or recover.
Just like any machine that often grinds, you need to provide your vocal folds with short breaks. Moreover, when you have upcoming big vocal tasks, you need to build rest periods before those vocal tasks and after those vocal tasks.
Vocal rest advice or recommendations are more individualized nowadays to avoid vocal-fold hemorrhages. If you don’t need your voice, for the time being, give it a reasonable period of complete or absolute rest.
Your voice is one of your most incredible instruments for communicating with others and getting yourself understood by others. Besides, if you are gifted with a great voice, you can monetize your voice. But you also need to take care of it to use and profit from its use without damaging it.
Thus, if you think you have a voice issue like a lingering raspy voice that is not natural to you, you should never dilly-dally in consulting a physician to figure out the underlying cause of hoarseness. It will also help to follow the straightforward tips on how to prevent hoarseness given above. You should likewise maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow a healthy diet. Besides, you should utilize your voice wisely.