“All I have is a voice.”
― W.H. Auden
“Speech is the voice of the heart.”
― Anna Quindlen
“I just want your voice aimed at me again. I want to absorb the direction of your eyes…”
― Jennifer Elisabeth
“There is no index of character as sure as the voice.”
― Benjamin Disraeli
Find your voice. Articulate your inner voice. One’s sense of self is built into how you use your voice. When one’s voice is used incorrectly, vocal hoarseness or laryngitis can set in. Some of the reasons:
Speaking loudly in noisy situations
Excessive cellular phone use
Using inappropriate pitch (too high or too low)
Raising or lowering one’s chin when speaking or singing causing tension in the neck muscles and strain in the voice
Incorrect vocal placement
Not using proper amplification of the voice when speaking in larger spaces
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol
A tightened jaw when singing or speaking
We know that with prolonged overuse, the vocal folds can develop polyps or nodules that cause a raspiness or breathiness of the voice.
“Vocal cord nodules are benign (noncancerous) growths on both vocal cords that are caused by vocal abuse. Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords results in soft, swollen spots on each vocal cord. These spots develop into harder, callous-like growths called nodules. The nodules will become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues.”
“Polyps can take a number of forms. They are sometimes caused by vocal abuse. Polyps appear on either one or both of the vocal cords. They appear as a swelling or bump (like a nodule), a stalk-like growth, or a blister-like lesion. Most polyps are larger than nodules . The best way to think about the difference between nodules and polyps is to think of a nodule as a callous and a polyp as a blister.” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
A good check in finding a place where one’s voice settles in at a comfortable pitch is to try this exercise. Count backward from an arbitrary number (30, 29, 28, etc.) As one focuses on the numbers, the voice finds a pitch that resonates with a comfortable vocal space – ie. It could be a B flat or A below middle C on the piano. This is the place where your voice is best suited for speaking. Use this note as a marker for where your voice resonates best.
Your voice represents so much about who you are – it’s like a window to the soul.