Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Over the past 12 months since my recording schedule has become busier and busier with long form narration, I’d been using the tried and tested method of drinking hot water with lemon and honey on a regular basis, convincing myself that this would be a sure fire way to do all I could to prevent sore and tired throats. And I felt fairly smug that I was doing the right thing to help myself.
But guess what? My throat became worse and more uncomfortable despite steaming, warming up thoroughly, taking rest days, resting when I wasn’t working, and of course drinking cups of lemon and honey. I began to panic - I love Voice acting and I became concerned that I couldn’t sustain this as a career owing to discomfort. I became tense, and my neck and shoulders tightened, which consequently had an impact on my throat and larynx, which no doubt made the whole situation worse!
I booked in to see and ENT specialist (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) and waited for my appointment date to come through. A few months later I met the Consultant who whisked me promptly to have an investigative Endoscopy (yes, a teeny, tiny camera shoved up my anaethastised nostril), freaked out with how weird it felt and with a mild reaction to the anaesthetic spray, hyperventilated and fainted. Oh the glamour. Came round to find myself on the floor in the recovery position. Oh the shame! Luckily though, the doctor had had a thorough look around my insides before I swooned, and the results showed something that surprised me.
Whilst my vocals cords were perfectly fine and healthy (thank goodness), the doctor was convinced that the back of my throat was inflamed due to acidic reflux irritation. His first question: Did I have anything especially acidic or citrus regularly in my diet? Well, I have to say I was shocked. All my vocal coaches at drama school had sworn by lemon and honey in hot water. The doctor’s advice to me was to avoid the lemon drink like the plague for a few months, along with anything else especially acidic. Take some anti- reflux medication for a couple of months to neautralise the effects this had had on my digestive system, and ensure I drink plenty of milk before bed, and avoid eating late at night.
The result? Within just three days, all inflammation had healed. I then had a particularly hectic fortnight of recording on a very tight schedule, and I was fairly convinced the symptoms of sore throat and tiredness would return. But no. Nothing. Of course, the knowledge that I haven’t done anything damaging to my voice and that I haven’t being doing anything ‘wrong’ with my voice, means that I am more relaxed and less tense must have helped too. And whilst I’m sure it isn’t the case for everyone experiencing sore throats, it must be worth stopping the lemon drinks for a while if you are a regular drinker of lemon and you are experiencing sore throats.