While everyone recognizes a nasal voice in which excessive sound is traveling through the nose while speaking, many are unaware of the opposite extreme known as denasality. When you are congested or if you suffer from allergies, often the result is a voice in which little or no sound is able to be carried through the nasal passages because they are inflamed and swollen.
Recently I spoke to a young man named Jason whose voice exhibited both characteristics. In addition, the pitch of his voice was unusually high for a man. His sound was so harsh that people often told him they didn’t like to listen to him. What should Jason do? His first order of business is to see an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. Jason is unable to breathe through his nose and does not know why. He has no allergies and is not suffering from a cold. There are other possibilities, however, that should be ruled out. He may have a deviated septum or some other physiological problem in which his sound is physically unable to move through his nasal passages.
What is fascinating about Jason’s voice, however, is that while he is unable to breathe through his nose, he is maneuvering his voice up to the edge of his nasal passages where it is vibrating full tilt. It is not coming through his nose but instead just sitting there.
What Jason needs to do after he is diagnosed is to learn to bring his words out along the floor of his mouth instead of letting them sit up in his soft palate where they are strident and harsh. Once he learns to breathe and use his chest to power his sound, he will then notice a tremendous drop in the pitch of his voice. Jason has a much deeper voice than he thinks. One of the problems with nasality is that it gives the impression of a high-pitched voice because of where it is being placed – high in the mouth.
If you suffer from allergies, your denasal sound can be modified somewhat by means of antihistamines; however, the difficulty with some prescriptive antisitimines is that they irritate the throat. While you may find your denasality a problem, it really isn’t and I would not let it bother you. A little denasality can make for a most interesting voice. It is the excessive nasal sound that is the problem, however, and that is the one that should be fixed!
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. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speaking.
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