Is it OK to sing into a karaoke mic again?

  

Is it OK to sing into a karaoke mic again?

Other than impromptu balcony sing-a-longs, 2020 felt like the year the music died for folks who enjoy singing with others.To get more news about Melbourne City Karaoke, you can visit starsktv.com.au official website.

Because of COVID precautions, "they lost their sense of community from singing in a group environment," says Matthew Naunheim, an otolaryngologist in the Laryngology Division at Boston's Mass Eye and Ear.Among certain cultures and in particular countries, not having access to karaoke has led to a significant void in people's lives. In the Philippines, for instance, the country's Department of Health had to ask folks not to include karaoke as part of their family's 2020 holiday plans. "For a change, let us opt to have a solemn celebration with joyful Christmas songs from our favorite artists played on radios or online music platforms," Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque suggested. Karaoke bars remain closed there, and given the country's currently high rate of infections, it's looking like more silent nights are in store.

These sorts of regulations make sense given how high the risks of karaoke can be. "The truth of the matter is that when we sing, we put more droplets into the air than when we speak," explains Keri Althoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Projecting our voices requires heavier breathing, and that makes all kinds of vocal performances a challenge right now.

With karaoke, it's not just the singing that's an issue, Naunheim adds. "It's more about the environment — typically a windowless, small area where a lot of people are gathered. They may be uninhibited because of the effects of alcohol, so people let their guard down," he says.

And we need to talk about the microphone. "We've all seen those people we swear are trying to eat the microphone. The microphone is literally on their lips — even before COVID, we didn't enjoy that," Althoff says. "There could be lingering moisture on a microphone because most have mesh or foam coverings that could hold droplets." And if those are COVID droplets, you definitely don't want them so close to your mouth.

So yes, it's not so shocking that karaoke has been the source of COVID outbreaks around the world. A Quebec City bar's karaoke event was linked to more than 80 cases in 2020. Early this year, there was a karaoke-fueled cluster in Oregon. In July, more than 40 cases were traced to Singapore's karaoke lounges, which were supposed to be operating as food and beverage outlets only. And in August, seven fully vaccinated food service workers got COVID after singing together in an Oahu karaoke bar. Hawaii's health department reported, "No masks were worn by the employees and no social distancing was practiced. Vaccination reduces but does not eliminate the risk of becoming infected and transmitting COVID-19 to others."
There are some pretty obvious ways to make a karaoke environment safer, including moving your singing sessions outside, says Naunheim, who notes that "porchfests" have been a popular way for his neighbors to present and enjoy music. Or you can experiment with tech options that let you sing in the safety of your own home. "With karaoke, you're often looking at a screen and using a microphone connected to speakers," Naunheim says, so it's not such a huge leap to Zoom crooning. (Although if anyone wants to duet or do a group number, be prepared for a time lag, he warns. Collective singing will prove that you're not perfectly synched up.)

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