zeusfiction asked: Dr Maldonado, I do occasional voiceover work. What, in your experience, is best to rid oneself of mouth noise?
First I must confess to not being aware of the problem of “mouth noise” prior to your e-mail! Sort of coincidentally, the topic of misophonia, or intolerance by some people of ordinary sounds such as chewing, sighing, etc. that we humans engage in on a regular basis, has come up in the news via way of Kelly Ripa.
As you knew better than I, “mouth noises” are described as any non-speech noises from the speaker, with the exception of “verbal hesitations” like “uh” or “mm,” such as breath noises, tongue clicks, lip smacks, throat clearing, snorts, sniffs, sneezes and laughs. These can create a special problem for those doing voice-over work like you, or those on radio, etc.
A quick scan of what’s been tried for what seems to be an extremely common problem reveal the following suggestions:
1. don’t eat right before recording, as food stuck in the teeth can wreck havoc with the microphone, not to mention the increased possibility of gas emanating from above and <gasp> below.
2. keep some distance between you and the microphone.
3. good dental hygiene never hurt, brushing, flossing & rinsing (probably for the reasons mentioned above)
4. keep your mouth “damp and clean,” and drink lots of un-carbonated (to avoid burps) water, unsweetened cold tea.
5. try green apples
6. try lip balm to avoid the lip smacking sound that might emerge with dry lips.
Finally, there are some audio software solutions that can be employed to smooth out unwanted sounds. As you can imagine, all of these proposed solutions are anecdotal, and a review of the medical literature does not reveal any studies that prove that any of these work. But that is the way of medicine sometimes — not addressing those subjects in empiric fashion the things that matter the most to us.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn about something previously unknown to me. Readers, any more suggestions?
Good luck and happy speaking!