Guest author , 17 February 2022

Humidify the air

Healthy voice & what you need to keep it that way

Jasmin Schmid started singing 35 years ago and has been a full-time professional singer and vocal coach for the past 21 years. She knows what is important for keeping her voice in shape and reveals: «When it comes to looking after your voice, the secret recipe for anyone who sings, has to do a lot of talking – or for anyone who simply wants to stay healthy – is humidity!»

Most people understand that an athlete takes care of their health because their body is their greatest asset. Similar rules apply to a professional singer: the singer’s body is their instrument. And it’s not only the «physical hardware» that is the instrument but also the whole person, along with their thoughts and feelings. And on top of that, it’s an irreplaceable, priceless instrument that cannot be repaired or replaced. That is why holistic voice care is a must for singers if you want to be able to enjoy having a supple and powerful instrument for a long time. It also applies if you have a job where you have to speak a lot (teachers, presenters, consultants, etc.).

«Mens sana in corpore sano» is a Latin phrase which can be translated as «a healthy mind in a healthy body». This adage could be interpreted as «a healthy voice in a healthy body». The beauty of it is that everything that does your voice good, does your body and your health good too.

The matter of humidity is an extremely important aspect when it comes to looking after your voice. A lot of people would immediately think of things like drinking enough, maybe taking dry mouth lozenges… Yes, drinking is very important, you should definitely keep doing it!

One aspect that unfortunately is frequently forgotten or underestimated is humidity. You inhale and exhale 24 hours a day: just imagine what an effect it would have on your mucous membranes if you were to inhale well-humidified air for 24 hours.

We have mucous membranes in our nose, mouth and throat. And we also have them on our vocal folds which are usually commonly known as vocal chords. Our vocal folds are two horizontal folds of tissue in the larynx which are covered with mucous membranes and responsible for voice production.

Our mucous membranes form an important protective shield against pathogens. If our mucous membranes are well-humidified and intact, pathogens (bacteria and viruses) find it difficult to enter our bodies. Think of them as being like earth: when earth is very damp, it is dense whereas when earth is very dry, there will be a lot of little cracks in it. So if we apply this theory to our mucous membranes, bacteria, viruses, etc. find it much easier to enter our bodies if they are not moist and therefore penetrable. So a sufficiently high level of humidity is a super way of preventing all kinds of pathogens. And nobody needs a cold, especially if you have to talk or sing a lot.

Incidentally, one of the reasons why you tend to get colds or flu in winter is precisely because of this fact. In winter, the level of humidity is often severely low due to the heating being turned on indoors.

But sufficient humidity can prevent a lot more than just colds. For singers and people who have to do a lot of talking, it is important for their voice to sound smooth and not raspy. When we speak or sing, our vocal folds vibrate. If the mucous membranes on your vocal folds are well-humidified, that vibration will be smooth. If the mucous membranes covering your vocal folds are too dry, your voice will sound raspy when you talk or sing (just think of the hoarseness of a smoker’s voice…)

And incidentally, should you suffer from excessive mucus production, that is also very often connected to dryness! It’s due to the body trying to protect itself against the dryness by producing more mucus.

My recommendation would be to get yourself 2 hygrometers to measure the humidity in the following places: your bedroom where you spend several hours every night and your workplace (e.g. the office). These are the two rooms where you spend most of your time. I use Stadler Form’s hygrometer because I value aesthetics. 

This small device enables you to check the level of humidity indoors. A humidity level of 40–60% is recommended as the optimum level for living spaces. In winter, without humidification the humidity level can often drop below 20% in rooms where the heating is turned on!

You can then put a humidifier that you can choose according to the room size in each of the two rooms mentioned. I’ve got Oskar from Stadler Form looking after the humidity for me at home and in my vocal studio. Because I like beautiful interiors, it was important for me to find a humidifier that was not only functional but looked stylish too.

And if you needed another good reason for purchasing a humidifier: good humidity will also improve your appearance as your skin will also benefit from the moisture!

Many thanks to Jasmin Schmid for this exciting and instructive article on the importance of humidity for the voice.

If you have questions related to indoor room climate, please get in touch with us. Or subscribe to our newsletter to regularly get informed about current topics regarding indoor climate, experience reports or Stadler Form insights. 

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