Braving the Cold Weather? 5 Ways To Protect Your Voice During Winter Outdoor Activities

Whether you are a weekend warrior on the slopes or heading out to watch Sunday night football, even a few minutes of exposure to cold winter temperatures can be harmful on your pipes.

So, if you are planning on heading out in this upcoming cold snap, venturing to a football game or hitting the high altitude Rocky Mountain resorts, you should definitely pay attention.

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Cold weather season is here. Protect your vocal chords with some of these helpful tips.


1. Wear a scarf to keep the throat and neck warm.

The muscles in the neck surround the larynx which houses the vocal folds. Sudden cold temperatures or walking in cold weather without a scarf causes the body to hunch in an effort to keep warm, causing the muscles in the neck can squeeze inward, hence their name of constrictor muscles. Wearing a scarf also gives you that extra bit of fabric to bring up over your mouth and nose, which warms the air before it reaches your pharynx (throat) and lungs.

2. Breathe only through the nose and out through nose and mouth.

Breathing through your nose warms the air traveling through your vocal folds and adds more moisturize before hitting your larynx and lungs.

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3. Stay hydrated

Cold air is typically much more dry than warmer climates or seasons, so you need to drink even more water than usual to stay hydrated.  Aim to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water. 100lbs = 50 ounces of water for your daily target.

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4. Invest in a  humidifier

Heated air from a furnace or fireplace is drier can dry out the air in your home.  Any time your environment’s humidity is lower than 35% it’s too low for singers and very drying to the vocal tract.  Using a humidifier is a great way to counter the drying effects of your furnace or fireplace.

5. Drink warm liquids

A warm drink will help warm the areas around the larynx.

hot tea

6. Acclimate

Acclimate yourself to its surroundings and allow your body, larynx and lungs to get up to temperature.

7. Warm Up Properly

Just like an athlete needs extra time warming up their muscles in cold weather, so does a singer when it comes to warming up your vocals when the temperature dips.


If you need to see vocal doctor or ENT specialist, contact the Colorado Voice Clinic.


The majority of the general public is chronically dehydrated. Let’s face it, water is the most boring of all beverages and doesn’t have the pleasurable effects of coffee or alcohol.



But we ALL need it—and if you are a professional singer or speaker, you require it.

Dehydration, simply stated, means that your body is short on the necessary amount of water and fluids to keep you running at your best. Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe based on how much of the body’s fluid is lost or not replenished.

So what does that mean for your voice?

General fatigue effects the entire body, which in turn, will effect the quality and stamina of your professional singing or speaking voice. Vocal folds work best when when their surfaces are kept moist and the mucus in the vocal system is thin.

Water is your voice’s best friend. Here are simple ways to keep yourself dehydrated, especially leading into the warm summer months.


Drink water throughout the day to ensure you are consuming an adequate amount to keep your body, and your vocal folds, hydrated. A good recommendation is 32 ounces per day as a minimum with a goal of consuming 64 ounces.

Limit caffeine. If you find that you can’t live without your daily cup of coffee or tea, don’t make yourself miserable. Simply replace the fluids you’ve lost with water. If you drink a cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon, follow it with a cup of water.

If you live in a dry climate, invest in an in-home humidifier. Aim to keep your living (or traveling) environment at 30 percent humidity or higher.

If you sleep with a fan or portable air conditioning unit, keep them pointed away from your face at night to avoid drying out your airways.

Watch what medications you are putting into your body—especially during high allergy or cold and flu seasons. A large majority of over-the-counter cold and flu medications contain agents that dehydrate mucus membranes. These may alleviate some of your cold symptoms, however they can potentially dehydrate the vocal folds.

The same goes for pain relievers that contain caffeine.

It’s pretty simple—if you are trying to keep your voice at peak condition, skip the booze. Alcoholic drinks are a major dehydrator, so if you consume any form of alcohol, replenish what you consume with equal amounts (or more) of water.

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