In less than a week, millions of Americans and Canadians will get together with friends and family to watch the largest sporting event in our country. And, during those 4 hours of play, a lot of fans will experience sore throats, hoarseness, and possibly even loss of voice. Many people will find their voice much improved in the next day or two; however, there are some who will begin to notice that their voices are not returning to their ‘normal’ sound or strength.
This is called vocal abuse. The problem with vocal abuse is that it can lead to permanent damage of the vocal cords. Unfortunately, damage is the not the problem here; permanence is. You cannot take a pill or use throat sprays and expect to change the situation. Of course, there are steroids and surgery, neither of which is ideal or desirable.
While there is not much that can be done for those in which permanent damage has already occurred, there is something which can be done for those who are heading in that direction. Maybe you have found that your voice always returns the next day. The problem is that as we age, the vocal cords are also aging. What this means is that all you need is one good Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup Playoff, or World Cup Soccer for the ‘permanence’ to occur.
It also doesn’t have to be rooting for your favorite professional team for vocal abuse to happen. Perhaps you coach your son’s football or soccer team. Maybe you run training sessions for your company. Perhaps you work in a noisy environment and need to speak loudly to be heard. It could also be that your job requires you to talk a lot. You may be a teacher. Or you might even be a public speaker.
Whatever the cause, there is something you can do to stop the abuse. By learning to place your voice properly, you can prevent the chronic hoarseness, persistent sore throat and even loss of voice. When you can take the pressure off your throat and voice box, allowing your chest cavity to become your primary sounding board, you will immediately feel the difference. Of course, your other 4 resonators (voice box, throat, mouth and nasal cavities) will continue to work – just not as hard.
What is wonderful about changing your voice placement is that you will discover a richer, deeper quality in the process. You will also be able to increase your volume without shouting or yelling. It is called projection and is only possible when your chest is powering your sound.
Imagine being able to root for your favorite team and still have a voice by the end of the game. That’s a win-win situation all the way around!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Watch as Nancy describes in more detail The Truth About Vocal Abuse.