vocal-strain-300x225Professional singers know they can always exploit their voice much better than they actually do, and always look for ways of achieving this.

By contrast, those whose work involves speaking for many hours are much more cautious, since they know their livelihood depends on their pair of sensitive vocal cords. Thus, the slightest careless vocal action, or any failure to follow the rules of vocal hygiene, can risk their voice.

But your vocal system consists of much more than the vocal folds, and most of the human sound generation process is still a mystery, even nowadays, when modern technology allows us to observe the vocal folds and voice box operation much more accurately. I would even call it one of the wonders of Creation.

However, you can relieve your voice box strain with just one action: just keep your Adam’s apple down. Adam’s apple is a lump in the front of your neck, which is a part of your voice box.

First of all, you should feel your Adam’s apple move. If you place your hand, gently, on your Adam’s apple, and start yawning, you should immediately feel how it moved down when you open your mouth, and up again when the yawning is over. The same happens when you swallow your saliva.  The point is noticing that your Adams apple move, even if it’s not easy recognizing where.

During the swallowing process, it course is reversed: upwards when you swallow, and then down again, when it’s released.

When your Adam’s apple is up, your vocal folds are higher, closer to the lingual bone, and your voice box, or larynx deviates. A deviation of the larynx causes the vocal folds to close less tightly. So, in order to generate a stronger voice you must make pressure them stronger, which requires a greater effort. By contrast, when your Adam’s apple, and your entire larynx is down, the distance between the lingual bone and thyroid cartilage increases, so the vocal cords grow thicker and relaxed. As a result, their closing and opening will take less effort.

In other words, the lower your Adam’s apple gets, the easier it is for your vocal folds to close. But here, too, do nothing in excess, or you will strain your vocal muscles, during voice generation, your muscles should be as relaxed as possible, so they could achieve a maximum effect with a minimum effort. So just avoid unnecessary pressure on your vocal cords.

Another advantage of keeping your Adam’s apple low is that it your tongue is freer, the vocal tract is wider, and therefore the airflow is better. As a result, your voice is generated more easily and intensely.

 The ill-effects of a too high Adam’s apple:

  • You can see beginning or amateur singers who pressure their vocal cords, get their face reddened and their neck blood vessels project, due to their effort. As a result, their voice might get gratingly sharp, with a small volume. By contrast, when the voice box is evenly located, the singer’s voice can sound with its splendor, seemingly without any effort on the singer’s part.
  • Likewise, speakers whose Adams apple get too high, such as teachers shouting, get their voice turn grating. In this regard, we strongly warn against shouting, sine even if just one shout, escapes your throat accidentally, but abruptly and with a strong pressure on your cords, can cause a long hoarseness.

Practical tips

For your general information: 7 muscles to raise the voice box but only 3 muscles lower  it. So, if you suffer a vocal strain, you should take care of it, and relax it, if necessary                    

  • Vocal strain relaxation and lowering Adam’s apple exercises:
  1. Insert a thick drinking straw into a 500 milliliter bottle, half-filled with water, and make evenly ascending and descending tone. You should feel your cheeks vibrate, smoothly raising and lowering your tone. Initially, insert the straw about 2cm into the water. If it feels too easy, insert it deeper or add a little more water.
  2. Yawning, with a little sighing at the end. In case of hoarseness, remember to perform this exercise for 30 seconds at a time, 6 or 7 times a day, for one week. Afterwards, perform in for about 2 minutes, 6 or 7 times a day.
  3. During an intensive singing or speaking, occasionally check whether your Adam’s apple is low and free or pressed upwards, and, if necessary, relocate it so it is released. If it is too upwards, yawn, with your mouth either open or closed.
  4. If you suffer a vocal strain, and probably your Adam’s apple constantly rises and presses your vocal cords, we recommend  rubbing the front and back of your neck with TMRG Voice Synergy Oil (#6). The oil is quickly absorbed through the skin and relaxes the tension.

 

We wish you a happy and relaxed year.

Talya

TMRG Voice Specialist