Look For the Signs: Part One

March 10, 2019
A “hoarse” voice is NOT normal.
In a survey of 237 primary school teachers (DaCosta et al, 2012), one third of the teachers sought professional help for voice problems, less than one half of the teachers were aware of voice therapy or that a doctor could help, and 30% BELIEVED HOARSENESS FROM TEACHING WAS NORMAL. Stated again for additional emphasis, “hoarseness” is NOT normal (for anyone). As an occupational voice user, YOUR VOICE is your calling card, your instrument, and the vehicle through which you deliver a very important message DAILY. It’s important for those you interact with to hear a FIT VOICE because the voice is reflective of what’s going on inside the body (physically, mentally, and emotionally).
What are the signs of a HEALTHY voice?
Generally, the VOICE should be:
*EASY—produced with no strain or effort; powered by air and not muscle.
*RESONANT –placed “forward”, not “stuck” back in the throat; resonance improves voice quality and provides maximum vocal economy
*RELIABLE—does what you want when you want and need it to
*RESILIENT—displays limited vocal fatigue after use and able to recover quickly from any fatigue that occurs
*CONSISTENT—displays a quality that is the same throughout the day and not varied based on task or time of day
*SMOOTH—exhibits a clear tone with no pitch breaks or breathy/raspy qualities
*USED at a pitch level that is healthy and optimal for the individual
*USED at a loudness level that is within normal conversational range
*WELL HYDRATED—see previous blog posts for more details
*EXERCISED and CONDITIONED for the most optimal use and function
Vocalists with poor “technique” who are young and strong may survive vocally until an additional acute factor (possibly an upper respiratory infection or the common cold) occurs. Let’s consider the fact that these are bound to happen in time and season, so why allow your voice to be set up for a risky future? It’s important to learn how to care for and efficiently (and dynamically) use your voice NOW, so you are being proactive versus reactive. Studies have indicated that formal vocal training is beneficial to vocal endurance; trained vocalists appear to be less susceptible to vocal fatigue than individuals who have not had vocal training (Milbrath & Solomon, 2003). EDUCATION IS POWER. Learn about your instrument, how to care for your voice, and how to use it in the most efficient and dynamic ways possible to experience daily success as an occupational voice user! Stay tuned for next week’s blog post about the signs of an injured voice… Decide to “have your voice’s back” and LOOK OUT FOR THE SIGNS!



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