Vocal Strain: How to care for your voice during the pandemic

Hands up, fellow maskers, if you’re experiencing vocal fatigue.

Hoarseness, difficulty projecting volume, communication blunders, muffled voices, muddied facial cues, frustration and an emotional/mental component associated with communicating while “muzzled”—yes, masks save lives, and yes, they come with a host of other complications.

The good news? There are some steps you can take to make this experience more manageable.

You see, your voice is resilient and, when used properly, is designed to work 24/7 without issues. Ergo, if you’re experiencing issues, learning about how your voice works and how to care for it can be a gamechanger.

I got you. Check out the list below.

The most important takeaway here is this—wear a mask to stay safe but don’t let it hold you back.

Happy communicating!


Slow and steady wins the race. Try one or two things on the list and wait a few days before adding another.

  • Mindset matters- try to release frustration and tension
  • Breathe as deeply as you can.
  • Take a moment to prepare before speaking
  • Avoid throat clearing
  • Breathe through your nose (less dehydrating)
  • Stay hydrated (sip water throughout the day)
  • Address body tension (jaw) intermittently during the day
  • Steam is your friend #directhydration
  • Posture is important
  • Use those support muscles. Speak from your belly.
  • Don’t whisper or shout
  • Relax your throat (nerves= tired throat)—YAWN to relax.
  • Speak slower and enunciate. Use clear consonants (singing vs singin’)
  • Learn how your voice works (i.e. nasal cavity for amplification vs shouting)
  • Vocal rest when you can
  • Use your range- monotone gets lost in the mask, higher tones can cut thorough the mask more*
  • Vocal warmups and cooldowns (not just for singers)
  • Use amplification when possible
  • Avoid speaking over noisy crowds
  • Take breaks outside in the fresh air, deep breathe
  • After a masked day, unmask (when safe to do so) and SING it out! The louder the better!
  • See your doc if symptoms worsen over 10+ days

*Avoid adopting a character voice here, just play more with pitch.

2 responses to “Vocal Strain: How to care for your voice during the pandemic”

  1. Hi Jill,


    Thanks for these; especially thinking about higher pitch carrying better through the mask!

    I have missed you so much! I sure hope all 3 of you are doing fine!

    At the moment, my bubble family has tested positive for covid, so I am self-isolating. So far, without symptoms, so it’s totally precautionary but I don’t want to risk asymptomatic transmission to students. So, I’m living the online life without the mask.

    But next week, I’ll be back to living in a mask again, so these tips will come in handy.

    I sang a lot over the holidays, reviewing all my notes from you and revisiting old songs as well as throwing a new one in here and there. I definitely want to come back for lessons again when I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

    About 2 years of this pandemic is enough, I think. Hopefully it’s pretty much blown out by the spring!

    Your little fella must be at such a fun stage right now, keeping you super busy and seriously entertained.

    My love to all of you, and wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2022!



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