What many people may not understand about vocal abuse is that changing only one aspect of your vocal delivery will stop vocal abuse in its tracks. Done. Over. Finished. It is truly amazing when you realize that, aside from abuse which may be caused by certain prescriptive medications, chronic hoarseness, persistent sore throats and even loss of voice can be eliminated simply by changing where you place your voice.
As the majority of the population is not aware of correct voice placement, the rise of vocal abuse is stunning. We are using our voices today, now more than ever. We attend live sporting events – whether it is professional sports or the weekly soccer games for our 6-year-olds – and the result is that we are doing damage to the throat and vocal folds.
Among our teachers, the increase in this abuse is staggering because they are dealing with children and young people who are much more unruly than they were 30, 40 or 50 years ago. Thus they resort to yelling or shouting. And, it is also telling on the voices of coaches, politicians, ministers, and professional trainers and speakers.
One of my clients, a Canadian minister, just had surgery to remove a tumor which was sitting next to his vocal folds. When I first spoke with this man, a few weeks before the surgery, the gravel in his voice was a sure sign that he had been misusing his voice for many, many years. He was told by his ear, nose & throat specialist, that once he had recovered from the surgery, he would need to learn to place his voice properly. This is good news since many ENTs are not giving that advice to their throat patients because they honestly do not know about the practice of good voice placement.
What I am talking about is using your chest to power your speaking voice. Aside from the fact that you will discover a richer, warmer, resonant sound, the result will be an end to vocal abuse because you will be taking the pressure off the throat and vocal folds. In the past, you have been relying primarily on those 2 resonators – as well as the mouth and nasal cavities – for powering and amplifying your voice. Once your chest is involved in the process, however, you will notice an immediate relief because the real power of your voice lies in that huge chest cavity, not your other 4 resonators.
If you are suffering from vocal abuse, make the change. It is pretty tough to go through life with chronic hoarseness or no voice at all!