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How Alcohol Affects Vocal Health

Did you know that drinking less can improve your vocal health? Alcohol causes dehydration, decreases our ability to utilize our vocal training, causes us to abuse our vocal folds, increase acid reflux, and increases the likelihood of cancers of the pharynx, larynx, mouth, and esophagus.

How Alcohol Effects Singers' Vocal Health

Alcohol Causes Dehydration

Alcohol is a well-known diuretic, which means it makes you have to pee more. This dehydration can lead to weaker air pressure and vibratory systems. If your vocal folds are dehydrated, you get thicker, stickier mucous on the vocal folds, and dry vocal folds do not vibrate as well as hydrated ones.

Alcohol Affects Vocal Training

Alcohol affects cognitive function and fine motor control which means when we drink alcohol we are less likely to utilize our vocal training, which helps us avoid damaging our vocal folds and larynx. Alcohol also decreases our heart and breath rate making it harder to utilize good vocal technique.

Alcohol Makes You Talk & Sing Louder

Alcohol in general makes people less aware of the volume of their voice which can increase the strain on vocal folds. Paired with the anesthetic effect of alcohol, it causes one to press their vocal cords together harder in order to achieve a normal sensation while talking or singing.

Alcohol Increases Acid Reflux

Alcohol relaxes the muscle between your esophagus and your stomach, allowing your stomach acid to overflow into your throat. This overflow can burn your vocal folds and cause coughing, which is essentially smacking your vocal folds together, which can cause long term damage.

Alcohol increases the likelihood of cancers of the pharynx, larynx, mouth, & esophagus

One study found that drinking 50g of alcohol a day (about 4 drinks) increases the likelihood of these forms of cancer by two or three times compared to non-drinkers (Baan et al., 2007).

So, are you in for damp or dry January?

January is a great time to examine our relationship with alcohol and other substances. We've partnered with Three Magnets Brewing all month long to support you on your sober curious journey. We've created a limited edition non-alcoholic beer benefiting SMASH featuring four local performers, Shaina Shepherd, Josiah Johnson, Jessica Dobson, and Corin Tucker, from our SMASH Benefit Tribute to David Bowie. Bubble Glam took influence from the Michael Moebius David Bowie Bubble Gum print and was brewed with bubble gum flavor (in moderation) and, in true glam-rock fashion, food-grade glitter!

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