Smoking can damage a Voice Artiste’s health and career. Renowned Voice Doctor Dr. Sadhana Nayak gives us an insight on Sugar Mediaz Voice Industry Blog.
While some Voice Artistes feel that smoking helps them get a gravelly voice and helps them deal with performance anxiety, it may damage their vocal cords irrevocably. Smoking, as is always said, is injurious to your VOICE.
The co-relation between smoking and laryngeal cancer is proven
So if you are a heavy smoker the chances that you will come down with malignancy are higher than a non-smoker. It does not mean that everybody who smokes 40 cigarettes a day will get cancer but scientifically the likelihood is definitely high. It is proven. So whatever form of tobacco you are taking whether smoking or gutka, it is highly injurious to your Voice. I have had people who come to me and tell me that some one they know smokes 100 cigarettes a day and has not got cancer or any other problem. It doesn’t work that way. Maybe somebody has got lucky but you may not be the lucky one. Even if we think malignancy or cancer does not happen, smoking will produce laryngitis and harm your health in a major way.
Smoking affects Vocal health
When it comes to smoking, it’s not just about getting Cancer, it’s about Vocal health.
Smoking will irritate the vocal folds and that is why some Voice Artistes like to smoke because it irritates their vocal folds and it is like a mild laryngitis so one gets that gravelly and heavy quality to the voice which Voice Artistes seem to like. If there is a kind of irritation then the skin swells up. There is a little bit of redness, there is a little bit of roughness, it’s not very smooth… this swelling up contributes to the gravelly voice. Normally when we see vocal folds they are like pearly white smooth folds and the mucosal fold movements and all are very smooth and clear. You’ll find minor changes in a smoker’s vocal fold. This affects the vocal health because such swelling up of the vocal chords is a sign of bad vocal health.
Smoking reduces lung capacity
Smoking not only affects the Vocal chord, but will also reduce the lung capacity over a period of time and a ‘regular smoker’ Voice Artiste will feel shortness of breath and difficulty in delivering longer lines or sentences in one breath because of the reduced lung capacity. As it is living in cities like Mumbai where the air is so polluted, breathing in this air, it’s already like you are smoking maybe 10-20 cigarettes a day as a passive smoker.
Smoking causes acid re flux and heartburn
Nicotine, a key part of tobacco, is thought to relax the ring of muscle in the lower esophagus that keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. When that ring relaxes,acid can trickle up and cause that burning sensation. Smoking can also cause your mouth to make less spit, which might mean more heartburn symptoms.
About Dr. Sadhana Nayak
Dr. Sadhana Nayak, a vocal arts medicine specialist – laryngologist specializing in ‘Care of The Professional Voice’ [in simple terminology- a voice doctor] and voice performance consultant with a multifaceted background in the field of voice science, vocal arts, phonetics and performance psychology.
Dr. Nayak has been a Visiting Fellow in ‘Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice’ at Dr. Robert T. Sataloff’s “The American Institute for Voice & Ear Research”, Philadelphia , U.S.A. Dr. Sadhana Nayak was awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship for the academic year 2011- 12, as visiting faculty for Voice at She is a certified Associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, a comprehensive approach to voice training, taught at Yale School of Drama, Harvard University and other institutions in the U.S.A, Europe and other parts of the world. She is an associate of internationally acclaimed broadcast voice specialist, Dr. Ann Utterback , voice coach to CNN, ESPN, NPR, NBC, ABC and author of Broadcast Voice Handbook. As a performance psychologist, she has been helping a large number of performers and professionals optimize their performance and stage /media presence through hypnotherapy, NLP and peak performance training. She is a hypnotherapist, certified by the American Board of Hypnotherapy. Dr. Nayak is the only laryngologist in India who is a trained singer and voice- over [VO].
Contact Dr. Sadhana Nayak:
11 Geetanjali, S. V Road,
Opposite Indusind Bank,
Bandra West, Mumbai 400050.
For an appointment, call: 9819752312