Mouth noise can be a real occupational hazard for voice over talents.
Some producers will even stop hiring you if you can’t get the problem under control. Ouch! But never fear, there are many things you can do to reduce or eliminate mouth noise.
Here’s how to get to the root of the problem:
1. STRESS MAKES DRY MOUTH WORSE
The key to good acting is relaxation, concentration and imagination. Few people know how to really relax on cue. It’s important not just for your health but for your art. When we get nervous certain stress hormones that effect salivation are liberated in the bloodstream. These hormones can cause your mouth to dry (or to drool, which can be just as bad!.) If chronic dry mouth, or even a mouth that’s too wet, is a problem for you and your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, it’s probably stress related. Sure, relaxation techniques can help, but I’ve found that the most effective, long-lasting way to deal with stress is to gain awareness of the unconscious psychological attitudes that are causing the stress in the first place.
2. DRY MOUTH? ADD A LITTLE LEMON JUICE TO YOUR WATER
The tartness stimulates the flow of saliva. And remember to drink plenty of water. Keep sipping that water throughout the day. Air conditioning and heating systems are dehydrating and you may need even more water than you think! Keep a humidifier near you while you work so your body can absorb even more humidity. It’s great for voice.
3. TRY CHEWING SOME GUM IN BETWEEN TAKES
Gum stimulates saliva flow. Use sugarless to prevent tooth decay. Just remember to take it out of your mouth before you speak!
4. AVOID SALTY FOODS, DAIRY AND FRIED FOODS BEFORE SESSIONS
Even though you may not add additional salt to your food, there is a lot of hidden sodium in the average American diet, especially in fast foods, Chinese foods, cold cuts and processed foods. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Bring your lunch to work and read the labels of the food you buy. There are many low sodium alternatives and many cookbooks on the market which focus on low salt/high taste.
5. DRY MOUTH COULD BE A SIDE EFFECT OF CERTAIN MEDICATIONS
Allergy medicine is a real culprit and you may be taking it to combat allergy symptoms this time of year. Explain the problem to your doctor or pharmacist and see if anything you are taking is exacerbating the problem. Perhaps they can provide an alternative. Mention the problem to your dentist as well. Chronic dry mouth can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, so make sure you get regular check ups.
6. EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT MIC PLACEMENT
The closer you are, the more mouth noise you’ll hear. Try working a little farther away or raising or lowering the mic. Ideal mic placement is about a hands width away but you may need to move a little closer or farther away depending on your voice type and the effect you want.
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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company,
a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world