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I think I might have heard it first in grade school, then high school, then auction school … “Milk tends to coat your vocal cords, so avoid milk and milk products when getting ready to give a speech … or bid call.”

This prompted us to write today, “Six auctioneer vocal cord myths,” with this being the first misconception:

    1. Nothing that you eat or drink comes in direct contact with your vocal cords — not milk, warm water, honey, lemon nor any kind of lozenge.
    2. One’s bid calling is made up of not only vocal cord (technically, vocal folds) action but also one’s mouth, nasal cavity, pharynx & larynx (rear of mouth) and lungs. The way an auctioneer sounds results from all these components.
    3. Almost any temperature water is good for your vocal cords because it primarily hydrates them systemically (from the inside) as well as superficially (by water vapor.) Drinking water up to 24 hours before bid calling can help vocal cord health substantially.
    4. Whispering is not resting your vocal cords. Not speaking — not saying anything at all — is resting your vocal cords. Forcibly whispering can be as detrimental to vocal health as talking when you need to heal.
    5. Coffee (caffeine) and alcohol is bad for your voice and vocal cords — but only if consumed beyond reasonable amounts. Although known as diuretics, one or two cups of coffee or an alcoholic drink will do more to hydrate than dehydrate your body.
    6. The best treatment for stressed vocal cords or hoarseness isn’t any particular drug, pill, lozenge or spray. The best vocal cord therapy is rest, systemic hydration and inhaling relatively humid air.

As the demand for skilled auctioneer bid calling continues to increase, the importance for auctioneers to take care of their vocal cords and overall health becomes even more material.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.