Sunday, May 18, 2008

How do you keep your nose happy?

As a voice talent and severe allergy sufferer I was wondering how other voiceover talent survive the allergy season? It's so tough for me that at one time I was getting 6 shots every 3 days. I felt like a human pincushion! It did help a bit I think. Had to give up my cats Porky and Melvin though. (They went to a loving home thankfully.) The question is, how do you do your job as a voice talent and deal with your allergies, if you have them of course. When I'm at our Asheville studios Janet keeps tossing Claritin at me. I eat 'em like Tic Tacs! Allegra's not bad, but the Claritin seems to do the job for me if I double the dose. I thought when I drove to Florida last week I'd avoid the pollen, but nope! The trees around Orlando are peaking. I just heard my voice on a spot for Courtesy Toyota and (lol) I could hear a little of the stuffy sound. 

How do you handle allergies and stuffy nose issues as a talent? (other than taking a voiceover vacation for 2 months in Spring) ;-)

We would all appreciate your tips in how you handle allergy season. 


  1. I've always had problems with allergies. What's more, outside of allergy season I've never been able to consistently breathe through my nose. So, as a voice over talent who's has recently had a rather major nasal overhaul (I had my deviated septum repaired) - I highly recommend the neti pot & saline wash. Now I know for some, the idea of contorting to one side over the sink in order to drown yourself seems ghastly, but until you've tried it - and tried it successfully - you'll never know the true meaning of cleansed. Yeah, it's uncomfortable at first, but the more you get used to it, the better your sinuses will feel, the less need for meds, and the better you'll feel and sound in the voice over booth ... which is the most important thing, right? Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the tip Jay! Ive heard you mention that pot idea before, but I'm not too sure about sticking it in my nose.

    After you had your surgery did you notice any change to your voice? Were you able to get back to voicing right away? Did your vocal pitch change? Let us know. I'm sure there are vo talent considering surgeries, but who might be concerned about changing their voice. We'd appreciate your input.


  3. Vocal changes associated with the deviated septum surgery - yeah, but not in a bad way (actual results may vary). In my case, my sinuses were fairly obstructed on one side, and I'd often have people ask me if I had a cold. Post surgery, I have noticed a change in my sound - not so much in the actual pitch (because a surgery like this does nothing to affect the vocal chords), but more in the resonance of my voice. Like an acoustic guitar, the bigger the body, the more full the sound - thus my vocal sound has more room to roam before it comes out ... I guess you'd say. As for how long to heal and get back to voicing? Well, it's a very sensitive area, and it does take time to recover. Recovery time will also depend on how in depth the individual's procedure is. Because of the nature of my procedure, I was completely knocked out and it took a few days to get over the anesthesia alone. It's safe to say that at least a week is a good estimate to be away from voicing radio and tv commercials. But let me tell you, as for the quality of life aspect? I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I've never been as clear as I am now.

  4. About deviated septum surgery... You might want to look up Grace Capps in Greenville, SC. She is a voiceover talent and jingle singer, who resisted having her deviated septum repaired for a long time. But she finally relented a few years ago. She didn't have it done with a blade. She had outpatient laser surgery! ...In and out in a couple of hours, little or no recuperative time necessary, immediate results, and no discernible effect on her pipes! As far as I know, she's still enjoying the benefits of clear breathing, and is still belting 'em out on mic. I, however, am still "chicken". In my mind I can just hear the laser surgeon muttering, "Oops!" and the last thing I ever smell is smoke.

  5. Hi ya! SunSpots Deb here. I recently posted the question to voice talent on my SunSpots Facebook page about how they deal with allergies and sounding stuffy. Here are a few suggestions:

    Joe Van Riper suggested Zi-cam swabs. He said just "one of these puppies will open me up and clear the air passages at least long enough for a 15 min. A/V!" Wow! Thanks for the suggestion Joe.

    Eric Michaels suggested Claritin and sometimes 12-hour Afrin original. But he warns if "used more than a few times in a row can cause rebound constriction. Then you'll have to call Roto-Rooter to breathe again." Ya know Eric, I've had the same problem with Afrin. You really should follow the recommended usage. Otherwise, it can have the opposite desired affect.

    Scott Whittemore just had two words: Neti Pot. I have to agree. I started using a Neti Pot a few years ago and it has worked wonders. Once you get over the initial strange sensation of warm water running through your sinus cavities, it really feels pretty good. I use it every time I finish cleaning or mowing the lawn. Really gets in there and cleans all that junk out.

    Well, I hope these suggestions help out our fellow allergy/sinus sufferers. Thanks again to all who contributed. Keep an eye out for upcoming voice talent polls on my Twitter & Facebook accounts.

    TTFN! SunSpots_Deb