Characterized by chronic hoarseness, persistent sore throats and even loss of voice, vocal abuse is often the result of overuse and/or misuse of the speaking voice. While it can be caused by reflux or the use of certain prescriptive antihistamines, it is most common in those who use their voice heavily throughout the day or those who are speaking in a loud voice for great lengths of time.
While we often hear of singers taking a year off because of voice problems, vocal abuse does not just happen to those who regale us with song. Coaches, singers, politicians, teachers, speakers, trainers, ministers and even factory workers are often plagued with a voice which changes in quality or results in chronic pain because of continual misuse of the throat and vocal cords.
While Hillary Clinton is a perfect example of this misuse of the voice, it happens not only to the famous but the not-so-famous as well and can even happen to moms and dads who are regularly cheering (yelling) in support of their children’s soccer, hockey, baseball, and football games.
The problem with vocal abuse is that it will not go away on its own.
What you must recognize is that if you continue with the same vocal habits, the abuse will continue and will likely get worse, possibly leading to permanent damage of your vocal cords. The question you must ask yourself is how much value do you place on your speaking voice?
If you are suffering with hoarseness, sore throats, or even loss of voice and you are not sick, then you must change the placement of your voice if you want to save what you have. The 3 things you will need to learn how to do correctly include:
1. powering your voice by means of your chest cavity instead of just your throat, mouth, and/or nose;
2. speaking within your optimum range; and,
3. increasing your volume without shouting.
Most people are unaware of and not using their chest cavity as their major sounding board. Without the chest cavity, however, your voice must then rely on your other 4 resonators (voice box, throat, mouth, nose) to power sound. For normal voice use, not using the chest is not a problem although your vocal quality will never be very dynamic.
[Voices like those of Vin Diesel and Julia Ormond have a deep, rich, warm quality which can only be achieved if the chest cavity is involved in phonation, the production of voiced sound.]
You can stop the vocal abuse but you must first break your old habits and instill new ones. The techniques are surprisingly simple. The result? A stonger, more powerful voice that is there when you need it.
Let your chest do your talking and watch the changes that will occur not only to your voice but in your life as well!