Nothing can surpass the ability of the voice to convey expression. Most professionals, who use their voice for a living, seek help for voice changes, vocal fatigue, anxiety, throat tension or pain at some point of time in their life. These symptoms must be quickly diagnosed and effectively treated to restore the voice before further or permanent damage is done.
Many people in the society with voice problems move desperately thinking that they have no solution for their problem. But, most of these problems can be prevented by Voice Hygiene techniques and can be treated by simple voice therapy.
Who needs professional voice care?
Actors, Teachers, Lecturers, Business executives, Entertainers, Lawyers, Coaches, Politicians and Clergy need voice care as it is critical to their professional well-being.
Effective oral expression is of paramount importance in our communications-based world.
One of the most damaging vocal behaviours I know is speaking at the incorrect optimal pitch, usually too low. (Vocal Fry) More women than men have this problem.
Causes of vocal problem in singers and professional voice users
- Lack of discipline and self-motivation.
- Lack of self-restraint: Overuse and abuse.
speaking too long, too loud, too low, over too loud noises — particularly when voice is tired or “ill.” Voice rest is not an excuse for not practicing. It is the reason to eliminate or severely restrict social talking.
Inability to say ‘no’ socially and professionally when you and your voice are tired, sick, and overworked.
- Incorrect vocal technique. To develop good technique and maintain a healthy voice:
- Warm-up the voice every day before speaking and singing.
- Practice efficiently and carefully.
- Correct technical problems when pointed out and work diligently to correct them as soon as possible.
- Correct specific vocal habits that hamper good technique:
- Mouth/jaw not opens enough.
- Vowels — example: E too stretched, restricting mouth opening.
- Tongue retracted, humped etc., causing muscular tension, particularly the jaw. Singer’s vocal technique problems that result from vocal dysfunction (laryngitis, hoarseness, nodules, etc.)
- Inability to bridge easily between registers.
- A voice quality that is breathy, hoarse, raspy, and gravelly.
- The inability to sing loudly and/or softly, particularly in the bridge from middle to low register (a “break”).
- The double whammy: It takes longer to warm up a damaged voice. But, in order to minimize further damage, it is imperative that one thoroughly warms up the voice. This is unfortunate because a “sick” voice tires quickly. Singers and professional voice users with vocal dysfunction may have some of the following problems:
- Raised shoulders, one shoulder higher than the other.
- Congenital conditions such as a short leg may result in one shoulder being held higher than the other. The longer leg is habitually in front of the other with the weight on one foot. Do not try to artificially level the shoulders. It will only cause more tension. A lift or small moulded appliance in the shoe is needed. This is also one cause or exacerbator of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD).
- TMJD – mouth/jaw does not open symmetrically.
- Incorrect head position (ex. chin up).
- Tension of neck muscles, shoulders, arms, hands. Symptoms that should alert one to the possibility of asthma, bronchitis and allergies:
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Wheezing and/or shortness of breath
- Problems with breath — inability to complete a relatively short musical phrase
- Frequent episodes of vocal and physical fatigue. The appearance of stress of being tired without sufficient cause
- A frequent dry or wet cough with the feeling of mucus on the vocal folds
- Excessive tension of the extrinsic neck muscles, jaw, and face
- Persistent throat clearing
- Tickle in the throat
- The appearance of restlessness or nervousness
- A wrinkled forehead
- Loss of voice
- For singers, this means careful attention to the following recommendations for good laryngeal health and the prevention of serious vocal problems:
- General rules of good health for the entire body
- Voice training and exercise
- Proper speaking techniques
- Good vocal habits (avoidance of yelling, throat clearing, etc.)
- Attention to allergies and hormone balance
- Prompt and professional care for respiratory infection and laryngitis
- What is involved in voice care?We at MicroCare ENT Hospital & Research Institute diagnose and treat voice disorders that affect the voice box. Utilizing current state-of-art equipment and technology, individualized treatment plans are designed to keep your voice strong, healthy and sound beautiful.
- What symptoms indicate a need for voice care?
- Change of voice/ loss of range
- Vocal spasms
- Pain with talking or singing
- Chronic sore throat
- Heart burn or chronic cough
- Breathing difficulties of noisy breathing