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Love your voice on World Voice Day and all through the year

World Voice Day is April 16; U-M expert offers vocal health tips

added 04/12/10

Ann Arbor - Voice problems may arise from a variety of sources, including overuse or misuse, cancer, infection or injury. According to experts at the University of Michigan Health System, proper care and use of your voice can help maintain vocal health and prevent serious problems in the future.

In recognition of World Voice Day on April 16, Norman D. Hogikyan, M.D., professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School and director of the U-M Vocal Health Center, offers some tips for loving your voice by protecting it and recognizing problems. Vocal health awareness is particularly important because almost three out of every 10 people have experienced vocal problems, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

"World Voice Day reminds us of the emotional power of the human voice and the many feelings it can elicit," Hogikyan says. "It should also remind us that our own voice requires care to keep it healthy. Even for those without vocal problems, you should take care of your voice and remember that it is the natural instrument of your personality and emotions."

10 ways to show your voice affection:

Embrace hydration.
Moisture is good for the voice, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.

Kiss but don't yell..
Yelling or screaming is always bad for the voice, as it puts a lot of stress on the delicate lining of your vocal cords.

Hug a microphone when speaking in public..
When you are called upon for public speaking, particularly in a large room or outdoors, use a microphone. The amplification allows you to speak at conversational pitch, yet reach the entire audience.

Whisper a few sweet nothings to warm up your voice..
Warming up the voice is not just for singers; it helps the speaking voice too. Doing simple things like lip or tongue trills, or gliding up and down your range on different vowels, will help warm up your voice.

Always clear the air, but don't clear your throat..
Clearing your throat is like slapping or slamming the vocal cords together. Instead of clearing your throat, take a small sip of water or swallow to quench the urge.

Light up a room, but never a cigarette.
Likely the single worst thing you can do for your voice is to smoke. It causes permanent damage to the vocal cord tissues and is the No. 1 risk factor for cancer of the larynx, or voice box.

Be in touch with your feelings..
When you are in a place with loud background noise, you don't realize how loudly you may be talking. Pay attention to how your throat feels in these situations, because it will often feel raw or irritated before you notice the vocal strain you are causing.

Think good breath support, not just heavy breathing..
Breath flow is the power source for the voice. Don't let your breath support run down before refilling your lungs and refueling your voice.

Be a good listener..
If you hear your voice becoming hoarse when you are sick, be sure to rest it as much as possible. Pushing the voice when you have laryngitis can lead to more serious vocal problems.

Check it out..
If your voice is persistently hoarse or not working well, be sure to seek evaluation by an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, also known as an ear, nose and throat doctor.

To learn more about World Voice Day, vocal health and other throat-related topics, visit www.entnet.org/worldvoiceday.

For more information about the U-M Vocal Health Center, visit U-M Vocal Health Center web site or call 734-432-7666.

 

Written by Tara Hasouris; contact at email tarahaso@umich.edu or telephone: 734-764-2220.

 

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See also:

World Voice Day

Vocal Health Center

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