Did you know that your vocal cords are an organ? And, just as the other organs in your body need good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and the avoidance of smoking and drugs, your vocal cords do as well. |
Consisting of two small bands of muscle, the cords were previously thought to act like the strings of a guitar or piano – hence their name. With the advent of a video camera which could fit down the throat, however, it was discovered that the cords functioned more like puffs of tissue, rapidly opening and closing. This is why many refer to them as vocal folds.
Whatever you want to call them, your vocal cords can cause you a lot of pain, persistent sore throats, chronic hoarseness, and even voice loss if you abuse them. Today, vocal abuse is a growing concern because we are using our voices in noisier environments more consistently than ever. What this means is that we are pushing them beyond their limits.
The best way to maintain healthy vocal folds is learn to produce your sound correctly which most people are not doing. And, that includes public speakers as well.
You have 5 resonators responsible for voiced sound: the voice box, throat, mouth, nasal and chest cavities. The one responsible for a great speaking voice is the chest cavity, which happens to be the one most people are unaware of and not using. Without the chest cavity, voices tend to be thinner in quality, higher in pitch, possibly nasal, and most definitely lacking in warmth and good resonance.
When you allow your chest to become your primary sounding board, the pressure and strain on the voice box and throat is alleviated. You will find that you not only have more voice by the end of the day but more energy as well. Daily pushing the voice takes a lot of work. Using your chest, on the other hand, takes a lot less.
Tony Robbins is a perfect example of someone who did not have good voice training – or any – in the beginning of his career. He is paying for it dearly today with a voice that is raspy, hoarse and often non-existent. From my understanding, he needs injections to make his voice work.
A final point about using your chest is that you will then be able to increase your volume without shouting. It is called projection. It doesn’t hurt your throat or your listeners’ ears.
If you depend on your voice, good sleep, good nutrition, hydration, and a change in the way in which you produce voiced sound will keep your vocal cords healthy for years to come.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit Nancy's Voice Training site at Voice Dynamic and discover The Power of Your Voice or watch as she describes in more detail The Truth About Vocal Abuse.
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