Mouth Noise: A Report From The Trenches

neti_olbasBy Brice Weatherill

“What’s all this?” asked my wife, eyeing the collection of shopping bags suspiciously.
“You know how I’ve been saying that I was getting a lot of mouth noise when I’m narrating my audiobooks?”
“Yeah…?”
“Well, what I’ve got here is going to solve that problem!”
“Wow, it looks like a lot of stuff,” she replied, hefting one of the 2-liter bottls of high PH water.
“Well, yes, it is, but if it solves the problem, then it’s going to make a big difference in the amount of time I need to spend on pickups and editing,” I said, enthusiastically. “These are all recommendations from some of the top people in the field.”
“Okay, so run me through what you’ve got here.” I could tell from the tone in her voice that she was still a little dubious.
“Well, for starters, we’ve got the tried-and-true standbys, like Chap-Stik and dry mouth gum,” I said, beginning to rummage through the bags. “But that’s only scratching the surface. For really clearing out the throat, I’ve got Alcolol that I’ll mix one-to-one with water, and put in this spray bottle.”
“I think they mis-spelled ‘alcohol,’ but I can see where that would probably help.”
“No, it’s not ‘alcohol,’ it’s ‘Al-co-lol,” I said, sensing that mine would be an uphill battle.
“What’s in it?” she asked, studying the bottle.
“I have no idea. I just know it’s supposed to help clear stuff out of the throat.”
“You know, we got about fifteen boxes of herbal tea for Christmas from my mom,” she said, fingering another of the packages.
“Sure, but we didn’t get any of this. Several audiobook narrators swear by this Throat-Coat brand. Some like the original, and others prefer the lemon flavored one, so I got both.”
“Hmmmm….okay, and what’s the aloe juice for?”
“I’m going to drink about a shot of that before each recording session.”
“Isn’t that the stuff you put on a cut to make it heal faster? Should you really be drinking it?” The dubious tone was now accompanied by a raised eyebrow.
“Well, I think that’s the gel you get when you cut open a leaf you take off of a plant. This is the juice they get from some other part of the plant.” I was quickly getting out of my depth.
“It smells awful,” she said, recapping the bottle.
“It tastes even worse,” I admitted. “But if it does the trick, I’m not complaining. It’s supposed to clear the caffeine, cream, and other junk out of my throat.”
“Why don’t you just stop pouring all of that Half-and-Half into your coffee?”
Before I could reply, her eye fell on another small box.
“This would make a cute candle holder,” she said, holding up my new ceramic Neti pot.
“It’s not for a candle,” I said, retrieving the pot. “You put a saltwater solution in it and then pour it into your nose.”
“You do what?”
“Here, I’ll demonstrate.” I mimed the actions of filling the small pot, then pushing the narrow spout into a nostril and tilting my head.
“You’ve got to be kidding!”
“Nope, it’s really supposed to clean out the sinus passages.”
“Where does the water go?” she asked, with an evil glint in her eye.
“Out the other nostril and into the sink. I can show you a YouTube video if you want.”
“Pass.”
She sorted through some more odds and ends: another type of gum, some breath drops to put on my tongue, the Biotene moisturizing mouth spray, the activated nasal mist, and then held up the package of Olbas cough drops with a questioning look.
“Before you even say anything, a guy from Sennheiser told me that these were really good for clearing out the throat and nasal passages.”
“Well,” she said after a long pause, “I really think you’re on to something.”
“You do?” I said, brightening.
“Sure. WIth all of the slurping, swishing, gargling, pouring chewing, smearing, and dabbing, you won’t have any time to actually record anything. So mouth noise won’t be a problem.’
I decided to leave the box with the new humidifier in the car, and sneak it into the studio later.

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