Definitely the biggest day of the year when it comes to sporting events in America, Sunday’s Super Bowl game resulted in thousands of injuries for fans. No, it was not overeating, gastric reflux, or drunken stupors. It did not involve your legs, your arms or your heart; and, it most definitely was not life-threatening. It did, however, result in discomfort and likely some pain. It may even have left you temporarily mute.
I am talking about your vocal cords and the damage which occurred if you rooted for your favorite team or shouted at your television set for 3 hours. What happens to many individuals from overuse or misuse of the voice is called vocal abuse. Admittedly, some people can shout or yell all day long without pain or hoarseness to the throat and voice box – then, there are the rest of us.
Back in the 1970’s when aerobics first came into fashion, it was anticipated that lower limb would be the primary injury for instructors. That assumption was wrong. It didn’t take long to realize that vocal abuse was the most prevalent injury for those instructors.
What was happening was that the trainers were yelling in order to be heard above the sound of the music. In answer to that problem, they were given microphones which did not solve the problem because they still needed to yell in order to hear themselves above the din of the music. The difficulty with shouting or yelling over extended periods of time is that it creates tremendous wear and tear on your vocal folds. In addition, it is extremely tiring. (These are 2 of the reasons there is a high turnover of instructors in the aerobics field.)
The phrase ‘screaming at the top of your lungs’ is actually quite appropriate because that is exactly what is happening when you yell. The remedy for being able to increase your volume without shouting lies in being able to project your voice. What this means is that you need to use your chest cavity to power and amplify your sound instead of just your throat, vocal cords, mouth, and or nose. Not only does it sound better but it also doesn’t hurt your listeners’ ears.
In addition, once you learn the techniques for projection, you will discover that you are in control of the situation. When raising my two boys, I never yelled at them; I increased my volume by projecting my voice. And, because projection kept me in control, my sons always knew I meant business when I told them to sit down or stop doing whatever they were doing. Not bad when you consider that I was a single mom when they were young!
Learn to project your voice and the vocal abuse will end as well as the abuse you are inflicting on your listeners’ ears!
Check out my Voice Training Services page to see how voice training could be the answer for you.