Gregarious Behavior Can Be Dangerous

You must never delude yourself. The cause of nodules, polyps, and chronic laryngitis, hoarseness and other unpleasant vocal disorders is usually overuse and abuse of the voice. . When you talk or sing, the vocal folds vibrate. The only way to heal the folds is to avoid hitting them together temporarily. This article is aimed at YOU.

Be very vigilant! If the voice is already under stress -- hoarse, tired, fatigued, gravelly -- a physical condition such as asthma, sore throat and allergies, may escalate the vocal problems, but it does not cause them. You may unconsciously compensate by replacing correct vocal technique with incorrect technique. For example, nodules do not form if the voice is used sensibly and correctly.

Most vocal technique, speaking or singing, is comprised of learned responses; for better or worse. When vocal technique becomes automatic, one is seldom aware of how the voice is being used. Always be alert to the warning signals that your instrument is not working normally. Don't wait until disaster strikes. Cut back drastically on vocal use the minute you recognize symptoms of vocal fatigue and stress. Social talking should be eliminated until the voice is better. Listed below are some clues to help you recognize problems:

During the first week or two after vocal surgery all social talking should be avoided. When the voice is feeling and sounding healthy, gradually begin short social conversations in a quiet room - no long monologues, no tense, emotional exchanges. Tears may help clear the emotional "air," but it wrecks havoc with the voice (results in muscular tension).

Professionally, one must walk a tightrope, making modifications in lifestyle and in professional activities when necessary to save the voice. To summarize:

During the recovery period or when your voice is tired, take advantage of every weekend and holiday to be absolutely quiet. Save your voice for your job. Try to schedule your time so that there will be vocal breaks. If one day or portion of the day requires heavy vocal use, plan vocal breaks that involve moderate, low, or no vocal expenditure. You must consciously plan vocal use, otherwise you will unconsciously use it in the same manner that got you in trouble. You can use your voice less and be more effective. Be creative.

How rapid the voice improves depends on you and on a number of circumstances:

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Rosalie Loeding, 1425 Calcutta Lane Naperville, IL 60563, [630] 717-8676, [630] 717-6205 FAX, e-mail: RLoeding@aol.com

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    Last Update 2001 December 23