...You attend your favorite sporting event and you're a big fan of the team. You are in the stands roaring to show support for your team. You continually shout louder to be heard above all other noise in the stadium.
...You are a guest at a wedding and the band is loud. The noise in the room is thunderous and you must continue to raise your voice level to be heard over the noise, to converse with the other guests at your table.
...Rather than walk into another room at home to speak with a family member, you continually scream to each other from different rooms.
In these three situations and others like them, you are straining and harming your vocal cords, according to Jayne Latz, President of Corporate Speech Solutions in New York City.
When you are silent, the cords are open, but when you speak, the air from your lungs goes through the closed vocal cords causing them to vibrate. This produces your voice and your words, and allows you to express your thoughts. When you raise your voice for any length of time, you stretch and strain your vocal cords. Vocal cords are elastic muscle tissues, similar to rubber bands. With continued misuse or abuse they can become damaged and could require surgery to repair. Strained vocal cords aren't noticed until the damage becomes severe.
Whether its vocal cords or other aspects of your health, prevention is essential. There are many key components to staying healthy and at times we must stop to consider these questions:
- Do you eat smart the majority of the time?
- Do you get regular physical tests and exams?
- Do you visit the dentist at least yearly?
- Do you include exercise in your life?
- Do you nurture relationships that provide enjoyment and discontinue toxic relationships?
- Do you always have an event to look forward to?
- Do you take time to fulfill your personal needs?
- Do you sleep enough?
- Do you stay hydrated?
- Do you enjoy some down-time?
- Is your work fulfilling?
These are all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Usually vocal cords are not mentioned in conversations about healthy living. They should be. Your vocal cords give you your voice, allowing others to get to know you. This is an important component to your success. Your words and your voice will show others your level of confidence and immediately will proclaim how you expect to be treated.
Latz suggest that too often we ignore our vocal cords. This can lead to inflammation and other ailments. She offers three solutions that will keep your vocal cords healthy and allow you to always speak with confidence and clarity.
Latz's Vocal Hygiene:
Do not shout. Shouting will harm your vocal cords and cause inflammation. This can lead to laryngitis or loss of your voice all together. If you find yourself shouting, calm down until you can speak in a more composed voice.
Do not talk over loud noise. Extended periods of speaking over loud noise will cause harm to your vocal cords. Wait until the loud noise has stopped or move to a quieter place to chat.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Coffee, tea, and alcohol will dehydrate you while water hydrates you. If you are drinking dehydrating beverages, drink more water to compensate.
Consider a healthy voice as part of your healthy lifestyle. Just as you care for your eyesight or hearing, care for your vocal hygiene.