Frog in the throat?

Bernadette & Friends30 August 2022
Person holding his neck

"When I sing, I always have a frog in my throat", "I'm still so slimy": I often hear that from my singing students. Do you also know that your voice is so busy? It's annoying, and maybe you wish that your throat was really dry for once, that your voice was completely free of "mucus", so that your notes would be really clear again. Coughing or clearing your throat - but you already know that this is bad for your voice. Reason enough to ask the question: What is going on when we have a "frog in our throat" and what can we do about it?

Protective layer or tough slime?

First of all: dryness does not lead to a clear voice; on the contrary, moisture is important for a healthy vocal organ. In fact, there is always a thin layer of mucus on the vocal cords, even when we sing brilliantly clear notes. It serves to protect the vocal cords, keeps them supple and allows them to vibrate freely. 

If our voice lacks this moisture, the protective layer on the vocal cords becomes thick and tough. It becomes a tough mucus that covers the drying vocal cords. This is the "frog in the throat" that we want to clear away and get rid of. We hear it in the notes we sing, which become uneven or rough, lose their sound or break away from us in the high notes. And we feel it when we become hoarse more quickly while singing. Even if it sounds absurd: the "frog in the throat" or the "slimy" voice is a sign of dehydration, we are "dehydrated". How can this happen? 

Prevention: Water

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is simple: not enough fluid drunk during the day. To ensure that the body gets enough fluid, it is recommended to drink plenty of water. - To avoid a common misunderstanding: Drinking water does not directly moisten the vocal cords, and that is a good thing. Our epiglottis closes the windpipe so that the water reaches the stomach via the oesophagus (otherwise we have to cough). Drinking rather provides a water supply for our whole body. It is this systemic water supply that also keeps the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and the vocal apparatus well moistened and fresh. 

  • Tip: In singing pedagogy, the equally drastic and apt motto circulates: "Sing wet, pee pale", in other words: to sing "wet", you should drink so much that your urine becomes pale. 2-3 litres of water, regularly distributed throughout the day, is a good rule of thumb. 

Dehydrating substances

Drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee or black tea, and especially alcohol, also have a dehydrating effect on the voice. With alcohol, the dehydrating effect is compounded by acid reflux through the oesophagus. When you sleep or burp during the day, the stomach acid can reach the larynx and damage your voice. Signs of this are a sour taste in the mouth or the "frog in the throat" in the morning. Acid reflux caused by alcohol or acidic foods can become a serious problem for singers. In case of reflux complaints, medical clarification is advisable.

  • Tip: A good preventive measure is to avoid highly acidic substances and only go to sleep when the last meal was about three hours ago.


Allergy sufferers are also well acquainted with the symptom of a clogged or irritated voice. An exaggerated defence reaction of the immune system against house dust or pollen causes irritated mucous membranes and increased secretion. In addition to avoiding the allergens, and possibly also anti-allergic medication, the main thing that helps here is to drink plenty of fluids!

Cold infections

Finally, only the proverbial "wait and see" can help against the "mucousy" voice after a cold or flu. It is a good sign if the mucous membranes continue to produce a lot of secretion for a week or two after an infection in order to flush out the last pathogens and regenerate. Drinking lots of herbal tea and water while protecting your voice supports the healing process.

  • Finally, a tip on clearing your throat: no matter how strong the urge, avoid coughing up the "frog" in your throat or clearing your throat repeatedly. Wait until the secretion on your voice has dissolved by itself and then swallow it. 

Good breathing exercises also relieve the voice. Have a look at my Online singing courses in!

Sing a Song - Be Happy!

Sing A Song - Be Happy

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