Detecting and treating early signs of vocal damage
What can you do just before you’re about to suffer a vocal damage?
The earliest alert about a vocal disorder or damage should be your sensation.
When your larynx feels OK, and the voice production feels easy, that is, when you don’t need to pay attention to the larynx, it’s a sign you’re OK. When you feel the opposite, it’s bad. When voice production is difficult, your throat bothers you, or you are hoarse, you must take a time out, assess your situation and make a change. You are in danger of suffering vocal damage.
Generally speaking, any discomfort, hoarseness, or pain, are your body’s ways to tell you to slow down, in order to avoid vocal damage. More particularly, a vocal difficulty is the body’s way to prevent you from doing what you have been doing that might cause that damage.
Your voice muscles, just like any other muscle, consume energy, and when used intensively, they consume much more energy than when resting. In other words, during periods of vocal strain you must follow the vocal hygiene rules much more carefully. That is, have sufficient sleep, a proper diet, and if necessary, help your vocal system recover, using natural solutions protecting the voice box, such as TMRG powder. Otherwise, your voice-box may be more vulnerable to harmful factors, such as acids, mucus, viruses or bacteria.
All too often, it’s during intensive and important vocal effort that you suffer a vocal damage. One reason, is that vocal strain makes your larynx more sensitive. So, if your vocal folds are swollen or reddened, it is easier for the disorder to settle in.
So what should you do?
There are several routine responses to vocal disorders:
- Consult an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT), to get your vocal folds diagnosed.
- Consult a speech therapist or a vocal pedagogue for reassessing your vocal practice and vocal training.
- Remember to have a rest before any vocal effort. A total relaxation of the body for a few minutes can significantly affect your muscle contraction, and therefore, your vocal performance.
- Regularly perform a few minutes’ long vocal muscle release, several times a day, using humming, gargling and all other usual release exercises.
- Adjust your diet to the level of your vocal effort. Your body must maintain a sufficient energy level both before and after a vocal effort.
- It is highly recommended to let your speech therapist or vocal pedagogue listen to a recording of you speaking or singing during a vocal strain, that is, during a lecture, a performance, or a rehearsal. Without this information, the exercises recommended by the specialist may not address the real reason for your vocal disorder.
Here are some of the many tips you should follow:
- If you ‘press’ your throat while speaking or singing, slightly nasalize your voice or yawn a little, in order to shift your palate.
- Massage and release your external voice box muscles: stroke the sides of your Adam’s apple (Larynx) from the top down, pressing them a little;
- Perform abdominal muscle and diaphragm strengthening exercises, to improve vocal support;’
- If you have no ailments on your vocal folds, perform neck muscle strengthening exercises, to make them close more tightly.
- Jaws and tongue release exercises;
When singing or speaking, you may raise or lower your head, but never let your jaw be projected forward. This is a commonly made mistake, which might strain your vocal cord.
- Carefully remember to practice vocal hygiene routines, such as relaxing your vocal folds before, between and after vocal efforts, having a sufficient rest and a proper diet. (Usually, one tends to avoid it, until one has a vocal disorder which seriously disrupts one’s everyday life).
- Be attentive to your sensations and vocal performance, to how your throat feels, and your intuition, in order to know when something goes wrong. The moment you feel it does, examine and treat the problem, change your life style, rest, exercise and eat properly.
TMRG solutions can help you treat such disorders, both as preventive measures as well as treatments of early symptoms. So please go to our online store and choose your solution, or contact us for free vocal hygiene consultation.
The TMRG Method for Therapeutic Speech
Do you have sometimes problems speaking ? Are you someone who identifies with the sentence: “I am having difficulty in talking”?
Maybe you have also been in a situation where you have had to write instead of talking; just not strain to your tender vocal cords (folds)? Because of hoarseness? Rest assured, you are not alone! Damage to vocal cords definitely affects many people whose profession demands them to talk at length, sometimes even at great length. The good news is that the TMRG Therapeutic Speach Method can alter the situation!
I am sure of this and state it in no uncertain terms, clearly and unequivocally – from my own personal experience.
Correct speech encourages healing
Before I explain the therapeutic speech method, the TMRG method, I will state that I too was in that very same situation, until a few years ago. At that stage, I experienced that inconvenience time after time, having problems speaking , when I felt that it would be preferable to remain silent or to almost not talk at all, when my voice was fraught with strain.
Hoarseness not only results in refraining from talking, but also leads to incorrect talking, even to the point of causing damage. It would be prudent for every person who suffers in this manner to ask himself whether correct speech can encourage vocal healing and healing of the vocal cords. The answer that generally stuns many people is – yes!
Unfortunately, many people do not do this. The majority of people try to talk as little as possible when they are hoarse. By doing so, they generate an undesirable situation, a sort of stagnation in the healing process.
Knowing how and when to talk
Very frequently, talking will play a very significant role in hastening the healing process and the recuperation of the vocal cords. It would be prudent to note that the crucial questions are not whether to talk or not to talk, but rather – how to talk and when exactly to talk.
When we suffer from unpleasant bouts of edema, muscle spasms resulting from strain, calluses and even polyps, it is crucial to treat these afflictions correctly and not to refrain totally from talking. A crucial and significant part of the therapy is correcting the situation to correct speech, talking at the right time and, in other words, the use of a technique known as “Therapeutic Speech”.
ENT specialists refer a substantial number of their patients, having problems speaking , to speech therapists. The main function of the speech therapist is to help the suffering patient to improve and hone the awareness of his own voice. There is no doubt that it is more difficult to talk when suffering from this or other voice afflictions. In such a situation, the wrong thing to do is to remain silent, but, to the same extent, it is not advisable to talk in a powerful and vigorous manner.
When we make sure to talk based on the guidelines of the “Therapeutic Speech” method, we will, by doing so, achieve a crucial objective. In this manner, we will succeed in assisting the body to heal the vocal cords to their natural and uninhibited state. Furthermore, we will also increase blood flow and energy flow to the area. In this manner will be hasten, to a significant degree, the rate of rehabilitation and recuperation.
The Voice as a Profession
The majority of those whose professional vocation involves profuse talking and activating the voice in various forms can be compared to a professional athlete who exerts his body muscles in an extended manner. Anyone whose voice is his occupation is, in the majority of cases, vulnerable to extended vocal strain more than two or three time a week. Often the case is even a situation whereby the vocal folds are strained day after day. This is a situation that naturally leads to different levels of muscle spasms and problems speaking.
It is critical to understand that someone whose voice is his profession has difficulty in providing sufficient rest to the entire vocal system. They can’t afford having problems speaking! In such cases, with the lack of rest, the larynx muscles are unable to close the gap and to recuperate fully prior to subsequent vocal activity. The muscles do not have sufficient time to recover and, within this context, it would be prudent to emphasize that 48 hours between each vocal exertion is the minimum required for rest purposes.
In the natural course of matters, it is possible and even critical to make use of medicinal preparations to coat the vocal cords in order to prevent abrasion and to accelerate the healing process with respect to inflammations and lesions. But what can be done besides using the required medicinal preparations and, of course, in times of difficulty? What can be done and, in practical terms, is very important and should be done, is to relieve the muscles by means of “therapeutic speech”, in particular during periods of voice exertion and when suffering from hoarseness and other afflictions.
At this point, I would like to highlight an important point. If you too are accused of “incorrect or strenuous talking”, you need to know that generally such a claim will not be accurate. No one can talk correctly without excessive strain when the vocal cords are in dire straits. In such a situation, the vocal cords simply do not shut easily and then, in order to produce sound, exertion is required. Therefore, it is important that you shrug off all your guilty feelings, because these do definitely not contribute nor assist recuperation. The important thing to do in place of such guilty feelings is to understand that there is a correct manner of taking for the existing situation, and this is the “Therapeutic Speech” that we mentioned and which we will shortly explain more about in detail.
The Secrets of “Therapeutic Speech”
Anyone who regularly exerts his voice must alter his talking habits and formulate a different speech strategy that suits the existing situation. The voice must be modulated low, deep and resonating from within the lower cavities of the respiratory system. All this occurs when the rate of talking is slow from sentence to sentence. Speech must sound relaxed, and somewhat monotonous, so that a sensation of “gliding” with the voice is perceived, without sudden eruptions of the voice.
The speech volume and modulation must be moderate. A sort of slow gliding of the sound over the words and syllables must be created. Speech must be not too loud but neither too soft. Velvety and flowing speech, caressing and definitely not too sharp is key in this situation. Resonance is pronounced from the lower cavities, that is from the lower extremities of the respiratory system, (from the chest cavity), from the front and from the back (from the lower and large cavities of the respiratory system – the lungs).
It is crucial to ensure a slow rate of talking, in a relaxed manner, with sufficient pauses between sentences, in order to inhale small quantities of air. When the sentences are sufficiently short, (around 5 words per sentence), the inhalation of a sufficient amount of air is made possible and thus, the vocal cords will not shut together too forcefully. This is, by the way, the result of speaking short sentences – a sufficient amount of air is inhaled which produces a buffer, because the sound produced is done with a sufficient amount of breeziness. It would be prudent to emphasize that the desired respiration is nasal respiration. This type of respiration has significant health benefits and it also helps in clearing the nasal passages and sinus cavities. And the voice is thus afforded a heightening of resonance and vigor.
A byproduct of correct respiration is, therefore, that the voice emitted contains a sufficient amount of breeziness in the resonance. This is a result of talking in short sentences. When the respiration rate is moderate and correct and not booming, this is the way, in order to prevent straining of the vocal cords. The correct manner of speaking in “Therapeutic Speech” will be, therefore, full speech: Should we speak too softly we will not activate all the muscles in the larynx and in the body, which support generating vocal sound. Then excessive strain will be imposed on some individual muscles in the larynx and thus additional strain will accumulate on the existing strain. The muscles in the larynx must support each other and work in concert. Therefore, all the muscles must be activated, (including the support of additional muscles in the body, such as the diaphragm). To this we can add upright posture and a relaxed neck that will encourage the natural operation of the muscles.
It would be prudent to note that correct and healthy talking is actually congenial, penetrating and pleasing to the ear speech. Full and correct speech will naturally and harmoniously activate all the muscles involved in supporting speech. Should we be required, for whatever reason, to raise our voice – emphasis on nasal resonance is required, and all of is this because the frequencies in such resonance are powerful and resonating. Using such resonance, we project the voice to the front of the face and snuffle it somewhat. It is recommended to work with the TMRG nose clip to exercise this resonance, as it facilitates producing the resonance.
In order to succeed in the task of deep and full speech – listen to your voice and seek the depth and the vibration in the lower cavities. Natural and simple activation! A low voice attests to more relaxed vocal cords. A low voice naturally reverberates from the chest cavity. Furthermore, when we talk, it is critical to use the lips in a relaxed, focused manner. It would even be prudent to exaggerate lip usage in order to exercise activating lazy muscles in the vicinity of the lips. When we talk with a prominently curt voice, the voice sounds more blatant and the listener opposite us can also read our lip movements and understand us more easily.
Healing the Placid Vocal Folds
From the vantage point of years of experience of my own and others whose work demands vocal ease; with the caveat that the reason for the dysfunction is not fully fledged viral or bacterial inflammation, moderate activation and exercising of the vocal system in conjunction with appropriate medicinal preparations or herbal supplements, will hasten the healing of the voice and rapidly reinstate maximum effect.
The “Therapeutic Speech” activities could be likened to the working of a professional athlete, when stretching and flexing his muscles. Just as an athlete cares for himself after exertion, muscle spasms or injury, our human body is dynamic and therefore, during times of difficulties, healing should be stimulated and then the proper state of the muscles can be restored.
Take note that the vocal folds are very small and delicate (the length varies from 15 – 25 mm. and thickness ranges from 2 – 5 mm.). Therefore, when these muscles are over exerted, they are very sensitive to any kind of intrusion or strain.
In conclusion, when there is a problem with the vocal folds, and we are having problems speaking , we will have to support them using medical preparations, herbal supplements and also actively, by means of the full activation of the muscles in the vocal system, by lowering the tone when talking in order to relax the vocal cords, and by means of resonators that naturally and pleasantly enhance the voice. “Therapeutic Speech” is, therefore, the safe and easy way to heal the voice.
To your success!!
We are here to serve your needs,
TMRG Voice Specialist