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My must-have tech gadget for the fall and winter is not what you expect

With the drier months upon us, the VocalMist Portable Nebulizer has kept my voice from cracking or even failing me during those important meetings, speeches, or events.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The VocalMist Portable Nebulizer.

I purchased this VocalMist Nebulizer to aid my constantly dry mouth and help ease my vocal efforts.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • This VocalMist Portable Nebulizer does a brilliant job of keeping your vocal cords healthy and hydrated, so you can sing or speak with ease.
  • This device works with isotonic saline so that it takes less pressure for your vocal folds to produce sound.
  • It's available now for $118.00 on VocalMist's website, which isn't cheap, but well worth it.

Thanks to the constant stream of dry heat, this time of year never fails to wreak havoc on my voice. No matter how much water I drink (and I drink a lot of the stuff), my voice, mouth, and throat are always dry. This causes problems with so many of the things I do. I've experienced dry throat so badly, I had to postpone meetings, filming videos, and other events.

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That's never good. Not only does it disappoint those who would have been involved, but it also puts me in a backlog situation, where I wind up getting busier and busier. Drinking plenty of water, of course, is key. And humidifiers can also help the situation. But what happens when you find yourself on a stage where you're about to give a presentation or in a meeting room that's dry enough to cause you vocal problems?

I've found the solution for that, and it's called VocalMist.

The VocalMist Portable Nebulizer.

ZDNET Recommends

The VocalMist Portable Nebulizer

This pint-sized nebulizer packs a serious punch to help ease your speaking or singing efforts.

View at Myvocalmist

I've taught voice at the university level. I've also been an actor for over thirty years and a singer for about a decade. I've seen every home remedy for the voice you can imagine. Tea, honey, lemon…even alcohol. The tea, I understand (especially Throat Coat). But honey is sticky and both lemon and alcohol work counter to what you'd want them to do. The only real "home remedy" is drinking plenty of water. Keeping yourself properly hydrated will go a long way to helping the voice.

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But sometimes, even proper hydration isn't enough. For instance, during this time of year, my allergies are in high gear, keeping my throat inundated with gunk. Sometimes it's all I can do to clear my throat and speak properly (and singing through it is another story altogether). 

So, one morning when I was researching the healthiest way to combat the issue of dry winter air and the aftermath of allergy attacks, I came across VocalMist.

The VocalMist Portable Nebulizer with the cap off.

Gearing up to send some moisturizing mist to my larynx.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I've only been using the VocalMist Portable Nebulizer for about a week but the results were so mind-blowing, I felt it would be a great opportunity to share what I've experienced.

As I mentioned, I'm gearing up to perform a bucket list role in a musical that I've been dreaming of since the 80s. I've been working on the music enough that I've had to build in recovery days for my voice. On top of that, the dry heat and allergies that accompany this time of year have been causing me serious problems.

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When my VocalMist arrived, you can bet I was anxious to give it a go. Once it was fully charged, I opened an ampule of saline, poured it in, capped the device, installed the large mask, and turned the device on.

After 10 minutes (which is how long the nebulizer runs per session), I set about working on the music. To this date, I'd never experienced such a relaxed larynx. Sounds were spinning out of my mouth that I'd never heard. It was almost effortless. After about 2 hours of singing, my voice didn't feel nearly as tired as it otherwise would. 

After only one session, I was sold.

I found the same results when having to record videos. Instead of struggling to get through them (in my overly dry basement filming studio), I had not one issue with my voice.

It was like magic…only it wasn't because it was science.

How it works

VocalMist is a small, portable nebulizer used by singers, public speakers, and anyone with general respiratory issues. This device works with isotonic saline to reduce Phonation Threshold Pressure (PTP) and Perception of Phonatory Effort (PPE), so it takes less pressure for your vocal folds to produce sound. In the end, it means less tension and less swelling during efforts of singing or public speaking. VocalMist is not only used prior to singing or speaking but also after (for faster recovery times).

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It's very important that you understand the only liquid you should ever use with such a product is sterile isotonic saline. You can purchase saline ampules from VocalMist or Amazon but it is crucial that you follow this edict. Remember, you are inhaling the nebulized vapor into your lungs, so follow the instructions to a T.

ZDNET's buying advice

It's simple. If you're a singer, a public speaker, or you simply suffer from dry mouth/throat, the VocalMist Portable Nebulizer should be considered a must-have. 

Keep in mind, however, that nothing can take the place of proper hydration and vocal technique (either singing or speaking). But if plenty of water and solid technique aren't enough during these dryer months of the year, this little device can make a big difference.

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