If you are experiencing hoarseness or a sore throat which will not go away, it could be vocal abuse. For many of my clients who complain of one or both of these problems, after a visit to an Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialist, they are told that there is no physical problem. Often the vocal cords and / or throat may have some redness; but, other than that, they are told that they are not sick and given a clean bill of health. That is the problem. And that is vocal abuse.
Because the majority of people power their voice primarily by means of their throat and vocal cords (as well as the mouth and nasal cavities), vocal abuse is a common result. Of course you may be asking what else is there to produce voiced sound? The answer is your chest cavity.
We have 5 resonators responsible for phonation which is the production of voiced sound. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of and not using all 5 of these vibrating cavities to aid in this production. If you look at the 4 resonators we commonly use – voice box, throat, mouth, and nose – the size of these cavities combined can not compare to the size of the chest cavity.
Voices which make use of all 5 resonators sound like that of James Earl Jones, George Clooney, Cher, Kate Beckinsale, Julia Ormond, Felicia Rashad, Morgan Freeman, Diane Sawyer, and the late great Barry White. Not only are these voices warm, but they have great depth and breadth of sound.
When you use your chest cavity to help power your voice, you will discover a deaf pitch and a more mature quality to your voice – more importantly, however, you will immediately put a stop to the vocal abuse. The reason is because you will be taking the stress away from your throat and vocal cords.
Let's consider how you have been producing your sound in the past. While your nasal and mouth cavities certainly play an important part in the production of your voice, the 2 resonators which have been doing most of the work are your throat and voice box. If you are speaking to talking a lot during the day, ie coaching, campaigning, public speaking, training, teaching, or ministering, you are placing a lot of wear and tear on your throat and those delicate vocal cords. Over time, this can result in hoarseness or a persistent sore throat. You may even be experiencing loss of voice by the end of the day. On the other hand, if you do a lot of yelling or shouting, you are aggravating those 2 areas even more.
The problem with vocal abuse is that it will not go away on its own if you continue with the same methods of voice production. Unfortunately, this could lead to permanent damage such as nodes on your vocal cords. The only way to stop the abuse is to change your voice placement.
While changing your voice placement will require breaking some old habits and instilling some new ones, the good news is that you will not only eliminate the abuse but you will discover a richer, warmer, deaf voice in the process. And that is a win-win situation!