Two-Thirds of Americans Live With Voice Disorders


Tips for soothing your voice

Zoubareva also believes that lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise and smoking, can have a great influence on voice quality. She believes that President Obama's past smoking habits could account for his voice, which, while pleasant with nice tones, doesn't come close to stacking up against FDR's oratory perfection.

As part of her FitVoice program, Zoubareva shows sports fans how to cheer on their favorite teams without trashing their vocal cords. She drills them on a series of vocal training exercises similar to those used by professional opera singers and teaches them how to project their voices without trying too hard. She recommends seeking this sort of training if you experience voice issues. "Getting help doesn't occur to most people either because they aren't aware there is anything they can do or because they assume the voice problems will go away on their own."

Certainly everyone can practice simple voice maintenance by drinking plenty of water and limiting caffeinated drinks to ensure the voice box stays well hydrated. Zoubareva prefers liquids at room temperature because extreme temperatures may shock the vocal cords. It's also important to breathe correctly, sit up straight and scan the body for signs of stress and tension, especially in the neck, jaw and tongue. She also warns against clearing your throat because it causes irritation. She said, "Instead you should swallow hard and drink water as soon as possible."

Who knows? With proper training and good vocal hygiene, you might be able to cultivate the high quality tones of, say, Meryl Streep or Robin Williams, two of Zoubareva's favorite American celebrity voices. At least you won't sound like Charlie Sheen.

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