The University of Virginia recently hosted a workshop about how physical therapy can help improve one’s voice, just as working out can help condition one’s body.

James Daneiro, MD, head of the Voice and Swallowing Clinic at the University of Virginia, spoke at the workshop. According to a press release from WVTF Public Radio, it isn’t just rock stars and opera singers who need to take care of their voices. It’s everyone—from teachers, lawyers, and doctors—who need their voices to work.

According to the release, during the workshop Daniero noted that more than 58% of teachers suffer voice disorders during their careers and 20% of them annually need time off so their voices can recover. Also, nearly 30% of the general population suffer voice problems, and 7% lose time off from work each year to recover.

In the release, Daniero expresses his wishes to change people’s perceptions of their voices to see talking as something similar to exercise. “Anybody who uses their voice a lot is akin to anyone who’s throwing a baseball and they’re using their shoulder a lot. It’s going to wear out at some point.”

For this reason, he recommends physical therapy for those who have trouble speaking or singing. “Probably the number one thing I see in clinic is strain and stress in the neck and shoulder area that is translated to the voice. We get them into physical therapy or speech therapy, and they usually get better,” Daniero explains.

Other than physical therapy, Daniero says the best thing people can do to care for their voices is to make sure they’re drinking enough water and not too much caffeine.

[Source: WVTF Public Radio]