Mouth Noise: Stop it BEFORE it Starts

Spring allergies may be winding down, but unfortunately, the battle with mouth noise isn’t a seasonal one. It may be easier when you’re not having to compete with Mother Nature, but taking care of yourself as a voice-over artist is a year-round job!

In case you’re in need of a definition…

Mouth clicks are often referred to as clicky mouth, dry mouth or mouth noise in the voice-over industry. They can occur for a number of different reasons. They are also incredibly off-putting. Having bad mouth clicks can stop you getting hired at auditions and can most definitely stop you getting re-hired” (Hugh Edwards, 2016). 

If you’re still not sure what mouth noise is (lucky you!) step behind the mic for a minute, hit record, and lick your lips or chew your tongue for about 10 seconds. Then listen back. That delicious, wet, smacking you hear? Mmmmmm….mouth noise. Yeah, not too appetizing for it to show up in a professional recording. 

Eliminating mouth noise helps you sound more professional and turns out a much cleaner final product. 

If you find yourself with a few errant clicks in a recording you’re editing, you can cut those out without much fuss. But if you’re habitually coming into the booth with copious amounts of mouth noise, editing this in post-production is both tedious and time consuming. 

Luckily, there’s an extremely simple way to combat mouth noise BEFORE it begins. What can be difficult is forming (and sticking to!) the habit. 

Drop what you’re doing right now and go drink a glass of water!

The answer: HYDRATION!

This can be as simple as it sounds: just drink water! But as voice-over actors, we have to be intentional and habit-forming about our hydration. It’s for our health AND livelihood.

Let’s start with the science: 

“Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood” (Harvard School of Public Health). 

Ok so it’s good for us. Hooray. We mostly knew that already. 

Let’s bust a myth real quick: 

It’s not uncommon to believe that drinking any fluid amounts to being hydrated. Unfortunately, this is not so. While drinks like coffee, tea, alcohol and soda are *technically* mostly water, they also contain ingredients (like caffeine and alcohol) that are diuretics, leeching hydration from the body. Which is why those drinks often lead to increased bathroom trips. 

All fluids do not equal hydration

Water is all you need. Drink lots of it. Drink it regularly. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to cut out all other beverages. You can still enjoy a cup of coffee or a weekend glass of wine. Just monitor your intake. 

Some rules to follow: 

  1. It’s recommended to only drink water or warm tea with honey or lemon before a studio session. Coffee and alcohol can be drying.
  2. Drink twice as much water as any dehydrating beverage. (Ex: 2 glasses of water to every cup of coffee/alcohol/etc.)
  3. Don’t overcompensate – hydrate regularly. It’s not a good idea to chug a ton of water before a session because you were out partying the night before. Much better to hydrate before bed and regularly in the morning while getting ready for the session. 
  4. Sip in the studio. Keep a water bottle with you in studio and take regular swigs while recording. Talking is dehydrating so you’ll have to keep replenishing while you work. 

How do you know if you’re hydrated? 

It’s simple, although not a topic I’d typically write about on the Such A Voice blog, but here we go. It’s PEE! Yup. Urine. Monitor the color of your urine to check your hydration levels. Dark yellow? Dehydrated. Barely yellow to clear? HOORAY GOOD JOB! 

So drink up your water and stay hydrated this summer y’all!

Caroline Turner Cole is a voice over artist, writer and yogi. Follow along or say hey on Instagram and Twitter

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