‘Your voice is the mirror of your soul’
Voice is the laryngeal modification of the pulmonary air stream which is further modified by the configuration of the vocal tract. Our voice influences every part of human interaction and culture.
A good voice forming a part of the individual’s personality can also become a source of income.
The professional voice user is any person whose voice is the primary instrument for performing his or her work, which includes advocates/ teachers/ sales persons/clergy men/TV presenters/call center professionals/actors/singers/dubbing and mimicry artists/ventriloquists. Their demands on their voice are even more, and consequently are even more susceptible to develop voice strain.
Vocal folds are the vibrating elements of the larynx, which are primarily involved in the process of phonation.
Voice is important for any individual, it is a powerful medium for conversation, presentation and expression. Naturally any disorder of the voice will be detected immediately by the listener.
The three integral parts of the vocal tract, namely the bellows (lungs), vibrators (vocal folds) and resonators ( supraglottic air column). The driving force of the vocal folds is the expiratory air blast. To have a good voice it is imperative to have a good controlled expiration. And for this a good inspiratory effort is needed, which in turn is dependent upon healthy lungs, heart and chest cage.
To have a good voice, one should have good breathing capacity, healthy vocal cords and a good resonating column (which is the vocal tract starting from the lips till the lungs). Human voice apparatus vibrates like a musical instrument with strings.. It is also imperative to have a good breathing technique, ideally an abdominal breathing technique. The pitch and loudness are controlled by the vocal cords themselves. The resonance part is mainly controlled by the nose and the palate. If the sound waves come more through the nose, it is called a hyper nasal voice and if the person speaks like somebody having a nasal block, it is called a hyponasal voice. Generally a hyper nasal voice is needed for songs in romantic mood and hyponasal voice for songs in sad mood.
Voice abuse and misuse
Excessive use of the voice is called vocal abuse and improper use of voice is called voice misuse. Both are to be avoided for vocal tract fitness. Talking or singing too loudly or too fast is a common vocal abuse. Similarly, continuous talking and talking in noisy environments, shouting and screaming are examples of vocal abuse. Vocalization during severe physical activity like dancing also is not good for the voice. Obviously singing or talking in polluted environments and after taking alcohol or smoking cigarette also are bad habits.
Improper use of one’s voice is called vocal misuse. Continuously speaking in a pitch not suitable to the concerned person’s vocal cord is a common example. Optimum pitch not suitable to the concerned person’s vocal cord is a common example. Optimum pitch is the pitch most suitable to the vocal cord to that particular person. Vocal abusive and misusive behaviors will result in a voice disorder.
What are signs and symptoms of vocal abusive disorders?
- Rough voice
- Scratchy voice
- Shooting pain from ear to ear
- A “lump in the throat” sensation
- Throat pain
- Decreased pitch and intensity range
- Voice and body fatigue
- Low voice on mornings.
- Aphonia or complete loss of voice
Voice therapy is an approach to treating voice disorders that involves vocal and physical exercises coupled with behavioral changes. The purpose of voice therapy is to help you attain the best possible voice and the most relief from the vocal symptoms that are bothering you.
Symptoms vary from patient to patient, and so the goals of your voice therapy program are tailored to your personal needs. Voice therapy is a behavioral intervention that can reduce or resolve various functional and organic voice disorders. In general, voice therapy may comprise completion of daily voice exercises, acquisition and generalization of improved voice production technique, elimination of vocally damaging behaviors, and in some instances, reduction of overall voice use, which is carried out by a Speech pathologist.
Tips to maintain good vocal health
- Everyday practice pranayama/meditation for minimum 15 minutes
- Drink enough water ( minimum 12 glasses per day)
- Sleep well for 8 hours
- Totally avoid alcohol and smoking
- Avoid heavy food
- Eat in time
- Avoid fried and sour food
- Give enough rest for the vocal cords
- Keep right balance of emotions and mental state
- Avoid dehydrating agents like coffee
- Avoid extremely spicy foods
- Do not clear your throat continuously
- Do not cough excessively instead do silent cough
Important concepts for professional voice uses are that of warming up. Just as in sports, warming up prior to a performance, prevents chances of vocal cord injury and optimizes the performance.
If an individual is able to produce loud and clear voice without straining, that means the voice projection technique of the individual is good, which can be trained by a Speech pathologist.
YOUR VOICE IS SOMETHING YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED, UNTIL YOU LOOSE IT, SO TAKE CARE OF YOUR VOCAL INSTRUMENT.
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