Whispering Is Not the Answer When You Have a Sore Throat

Posted on Posted in Vocal Abuse

If you are suffering a sore throat, laryngitis, or strep throat, a common fallacy is that you should whisper.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Whispering requires your vocal folds to become your only source of voiced sound.  And that is a problem because it can lead to vocal abuse.

Your vocal folds are delicate organs consisting of 2 pairs of folds or mucous membrane.  They are affected by your health which deals with your diet, your sleep or lack of it, tobacco, excessive alcohol, and drugs.  In addition, how you use your vocal folds affects their health as well.

In normal speech, we should be using 5 resonators to produce voiced sound.  Those resonators consist of the vocal folds, the throat, the mouth, the nose and the chest.  (Unfortunately, most people do not use their chest to power their sound, relying instead on their other 4 resonators.)

What happens when you whisper, however, is that your vocal folds are doing all the work.  Whereas in normal speaking, the throat bears a heavy brunt of the work, when you whisper, your voice box is doing all of it.  That is the danger of whispering.

There are two answers for dealing with a sore throat.

  1. Stop talking.  If that is not possible, absolutely limit how much you speak.
  2. Learn to use your chest to power your voice.  You will then be able to talk ‘over’ your throat, eliminating the soreness, the chronic hoarseness, or even the loss of your voice.

[This is the feeling I get when I speak.  I’ve taken the stress or the wear and tear off my throat and vocal folds because I allow my chest cavity to do more of the work whether I am in conversation, on the phone, or at the lectern.]

I have had several clients who have been able to speak when they have had strep throat or laryngitis once they learned this voice training technique.  In fact, the only time I have had strep throat, I still had a voice, although by no means did I talk excessively.

It is also important to recognize that whispering and speaking softly are not the same thing.  If done properly, speaking in a soft volume still makes use of your 5 resonators; whispering does not.

Because of the amount of vocal abuse I am seeing, I urge you to stop the whispering and learn to place your voice properly.  In addition, you will discover a voice inside of you that you never knew existed!



If you would like to work with me personally and discover the correct way to increase your volume without being loud, join me in Mt Laurel, NJ, November 17 & 18, 2017 for my next Voice & Presentation Skills Workshop.