When you think of today’s music icons what names pop in your head? Do Justin Timberlake, Blake Shelton, Adele, or Beyoncé come to mind? Although they have different musical styles they all have at least one thing in common, even with us: their voice. Not how different they sound, but how they keep it healthy. And we can definitely take a few tips from the pros. You may not realize how important your vocal cords are. Just like a piano holds the strings and instruments that make the sound, the larynx holds the vocal folds. That is why it is referred to as the voice box. The vocal folds are located horizontally across your larynx that vibrate as air passes through it. When you breathe, air comes through the mouth, down the larynx, to the trachea and then your lungs. Exhaling is the same process in reverse. But as air passes, the vocal folds vibrate on varying degrees which produces the sounds and pitches that we use to communicate. So, it is very important for you to keep them healthy. How you may ask? All together smoking is generally bad for your health and especially bad to your vocal cords. Try to head in the direction of quitting smoking. Plain and simple. Another big item on your checklist should be to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid potentially unnecessary strain such as yelling, screaming, and clearing your throat. Try to do vocal warm ups and give your voice a break when you don’t have to use it. This is especially important not only for singers but for those in occupations when communication is a key part in daily activities. This can range from teachers, speakers, or even telemarketers. Take notice of how loud you are talking. Are you straining your voice to get the right amplification at a conference or classroom? Try using a microphone. Even though you might not have a crowd like Freddie Mercury or pipes like Adele, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the health of your voice! When in doubt the best thing to do is to hydrate and “listen” to your voice.