Hi everyone. In this video I’d like to answer a question that I know I’ve addressed in other videos, and some people might feel that it’s pretty basic, especially if you had some training before. But it continues to be the question that I get asked most often, and the question is this. “When I’m speaking, should I breathe through my mouth or through my nose?
The short answer is, for speaking you should always breathe through your mouth. For the rest of your life you should breathe through your nose. First of all let me say this. Breathing through your nose is a healthy and polite thing to do so keep doing that. Your nose is there for a reason. It’s a really amazing organ.
When you inhale through your nose, the air is in your nasal passages for about one fourth of a second. In that brief of time, the air is filtered. Particles down to the size of five microns are removed that’s five one thousandths of a millimetre. Pretty small.
Second, air is brought up almost to body temperature when you’re breathing through your nose, in that one fourth of a second. And in that short amount of time air is humidified. That’s pretty amazing. In that one fourth of a second, air is filtered, it’s brought up to body temperature and it’s humidified.
So there’s a good reason to breathe in through your nose; it’s a healthy thing to do. Your nose is there for a reason; you want to use it.
When you speak, you need to get quantities of air fairly quickly, and your nostrils aren’t large enough to accommodate that process. It would slow things down too much. So the vast majority of people are already breathing through their mouths when they speak because that’s what works.
And besides, if you really did breath through your nose, when you’re speaking, it would sound something like this. [Sniff] “Hi, my name’s Jay Miller, and I’m a voice and speech coach. [Sniff] I spend a lot of time teaching people how to breathe. [Sniff] Most people breathe through their nose.” It just looks weird.
Another reason to breathe through your mouth when you speak is that the act of taking air in through your mouth has a way of pre-opening the channel that you’re going to use when you speak out. Breathing in through your nose passage, before you speak, means that you have to open up a different passage, through the mouth, when you’re actually speaking. So when you take a breath in through your mouth, as you prepare to speak, that channel is already opened up by the breath and ready for you to use when you speak out.
So just to recap, when you’re speaking, and when you’re doing your voice practice, you’re always breathing through your mouth. For the rest of your daily activities you’re breathing through your nose.
The reasons for breathing through your mouth when you speak: One, it’s what works. It’s the most effective way of taking air into your body, for speech. Two, it’s what looks normal, if I can use that word. And three, taking breath in through your mouth tends to open up the channel that you’re going to use for sound.
So breathe through your mouth when you’re speaking. Breathe through your nose in the rest of your daily activities. I hope this clarifies a very common question, and I’ll see you in the next video.