Definitely the biggest day of the year when it comes to sporting events in America, Sunday’s Super Bowl game will result in thousands of injuries for fans that most will not take seriously. No, it is not overeating, gastric reflux, or drunken stupors. It does not involve your legs, your arms or your heart; and, it most definitely will not be life-threatening. It will, however, result in discomfort and likely some pain. It can even leave you temporarily mute. |
I am talking about your vocal folds (cords) and the damage that will occur if you root for your favorite team or shout at your television set for 3 hours. What happens to many individuals from overuse or misuse of the voice is called vocal abuse. Admittedly, some people can shout or yell all day long without pain or hoarseness to the throat and voice box – then, there are the rest of us.
Back in the 1970’s when aerobics first came into fashion, it was anticipated that lower limb would be the primary injury for instructors. That assumption was wrong. It didn’t take long to realize that vocal abuse was the most prevalent injury for these instructors.
What was happening was that the trainers were yelling in order to be heard above the sound of the music. In answer to that problem, they were given microphones which did not solve the problem because they still needed to yell in order to hear themselves above the din of the music. The difficulty with shouting or yelling over extended periods of time is that it creates tremendous wear and tear on your vocal folds. In addition, it is extremely tiring. (This is one of the reasons there is a high turnover of instructors in the aerobics field.)
The remedy for being able to increase your volume without damaging your delicate vocal folds lies in being able to project your voice. What this means is that you need to use your chest cavity to power and amplify your sound instead of just your throat, mouth, and or nose. Not only does it sound better but it also doesn’t hurt your listeners’ ears. In addition, once you learn the techniques for projection, you will discover that you are in control of the situation. When raising my two boys, I never yelled at them; I increased my volume by projecting my voice. And, because projection kept me in control, my sons always knew I meant business when I told them to sit down, shut up, or stop doing whatever they were doing. Not bad when you consider that I was a single mom until they were teenagers.
The prhase ‘screaming at the top of your lungs’ is actually quite appropriate because that is exactly what is happening when you yell. Learn to project your voice and discover an end to vocal abuse as well as an end to the abuse you are inflicting on your listeners’ ears!
Watch The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels as she describes in more detail The Truth About Vocal Abuse.
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