“I use my voice all the time for work. How can I look after my voice?”
We rely on our voices in every day life. We need a voice to join in social situations and everyday activities that involve others. Some of us may need our voice as an essential part of our jobs, like teachers, singers, actors, sales people, lawyers and others.
The most common voice difficulties result from vocal abuse or trauma. You might talk about your voice ‘letting you down’, or ‘giving out’ on you, but in reality, we don’t often realise that our body is telling us to mind our voice more. We have been given warning signals, like hoarseness, weakness, or maybe even pain. This usually happens when the vocal cords are swollen and is asking for some TLC (Tender Loving Care). We often ignore the signs and keep pushing our voice harder. If we could see our vocal cords, we might take it easier on them, but as we don’t, we often push our voice harder than we should.
Voice strain can also occur through poor technique when speaking.
Some might use a lot of muscle tension in the throat, neck and even in the shoulders when speaking. This tension can then lead to the vocal cords being used under more strain. Poor breath support can also make it difficult to use a strong and safe voice.
Some people might even speak or sing at a register or pitch that is too high or low for them, leading to voice difficulties.
Voice therapy can help in developing improved strategies in speaking and a reduction in symptoms. As a matter of best practice, it is essential that all voice therapy clients first attend an Ear Nose and Throat Consultant for a laryngoscopy. The ENT Consultant will be able to identify how the vocal cords are functioning and also note any swelling, nodules or other physical issues.
Useful website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534632/ (Further information on kind of disorders and voice therapy can be found here.) If you wonder whether you may need voice therapy, you can complete the quick screener below. If you answer YES to a few of the questions below, you may benefit from voice therapy, following a consultation by an Ear Nose and Throat Consultant.