Nasal Irrigation: Clearing the Way to Better Voiceovers
by Peter Drew
Having trouble battling that major nemesis of voiceover talent, allergies? Got good olí post-nasal drip? Dependent on anti-histamines to get you through every day? One great way to clear up your sinuses and post-nasal drip is with nasal irrigation. Havenít tried it? It's been a common practice in Asia and South Asia for about 4000 years. Maybe it should become common practice for voice over folks for the next 4000 years. Read on, then give it a try.
You can do nasal irrigation the old-fashioned way--by hand or by using a little piece of pottery called a Neti pot. Or, you can go high tech, with a specially designed electronic nasal irrigation device.
Powered Up Nose Washing
A while back, a very successful TV and radio imaging voice over talent Iíd known for a few years revealed to me that he had a severe mold allergy. I couldnít believe it because Iíd never heard any evidence of sinus trouble in his work. Allegra and Claritin had been his anti-histamines of choice for years. To minimize side effects, he rotated the two drugs every six months to minimize the side effects. The he discovered nasal irrigation, specifically, pulsatile nasal irrigation, using the high tech electronic device I mentioned above. As a result of daily nasal irrigation, he actually was able to go off the anti-histamines.
For more information on sinuses and pulsatile nasal irrigation, visit http://www.ent-consult.com/sinusitis.html. The siteís a treasure trove of all kinds of info on sinusitis, sinus infections, allergy, etc. You'll find a link to "pulsatile irrigation" under the "What Helps the Cilia" section. The site explains what it does and why it works. Iíve never used the pulsatile nasal irrigation gizmo and Iím not endorsing it in any way, but it seems to have worked for the talent I mentioned above.
Give Your Nose a Hand
Personally, a little post-nasal drip sometimes invades my vocal cords, making it tough going behind the mic. When itís particularly bad, I'll break out the measuring cup, salt, and baking soda to get some relief. Into one cup of filtered or spring wateródonít use tap water because the chlorine isnít good for your sinuses, or any other part of your body, for that matteróI mix a quarter teaspoon kosher salt and a eighth of a teaspoon of baking soda. Then I put the microwave on high and warm up the water for 45 seconds.
When the waterís warmed up, I cup the palm of my left hand, pour some water into it, shut my right nostril with my right hand, lean over the sink and snort the water up through my left nostril till it runs down the back of my throat. I know it doesnít sound pleasant, but you get used to it quickly. Keeping my head right down low over the sink, I expectorate the water and let the water drain from my nose without wiping or blowing. I know itís a bit graphic, but there really is no delicate way to put it. At least I used the word ďexpectorateĒ instead of spit, right? I repeat two more times for a total of three snorts up the left nostril. Then I do the same for the right nostril, always sure to let the water drain out on its own. And, again, I don't blow my nose. Instead, I use a tissue to dab at my nose to dry it. The whole process takes about five minutes. The result? My sinuses and throat are good to go for a few hours without post-nasal drip causing me grief.
A Nose by Any Other Name...
One very cool thing youíll notice after youíre through irrigating your proboscis is how clearly youíll smell things. Itís sort of like when you climb a mountain in your car or take off in a plane and your ears pop. All of a sudden you can hear things really clearly. Itís the same with nasal irrigation, except it only lasts for a short time until "olfactory fatigue" makes it fade.
Got allergies? Make nasal irrigation a part of your daily warm up routine and you may find yourself relying less on anti-histamines to get you through your voiceovers clear as a bell.
© Peter Drew