The Speech sounds are produced by vibration of the vocal folds, which are two smooth muscle tissue positioned opposite to each other in the larynx. The larynx is located between the base of the tongue and the top of the trachea, which is the air passageway to the lungs.
When we are not speaking, the vocal folds are open so we can breathe. When it is time to speak, the vocal folds snap together and air from the lungs blows out, making them vibrate. The vibrations produce sound waves that travel through the throat, nose, and mouth, to form Speech sounds our Oro motor structures act as resonators to modulate the sound.
Characteristics of Not Healthy Voice:
• Hoarse, rough, or breathy voice.
• Not able to hit some high notes when singing.
• Voice suddenly sound deeper.
• Feeling raw, achy, or strained throat more often.
• Effort to talk.
• Repeatedly clearing your throat.
Causes of voice problems include:
• Upper respiratory infections
• Inflammation caused by gastroesophageal reflux (sometimes called acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD)
• Vocal misuse and overuse
• Growths on the vocal folds, (e.g., Vocal nodules, polyps)
• Cancer of the larynx
• Neurological diseases
• Psychological trauma
Most voice problems can be reversed by treating the underlying cause or behavioural and surgical treatments. If you think you have a voice problem, consult an ENT specialist, Your ENT Specialist may refer you to a speech-language pathologist. A speech-language pathologist can help you improve the way you use your voice.
How to take care of your voice –
1. Stay hydrated:
• Drink plenty of water, especially when exercising.
• If you drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol, balance your intake with plenty of water.
• Take vocal rest throughout the day.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet:
• Do not smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke.
• Avoid eating spicy foods.
• Include plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. These foods contain vitamins A, E, and C. They also help keep that the throat healthy.
• Wash your hands often to prevent getting a cold or the flu.
• Get enough rest.
• Exercise regularly. Exercises helps provide good posture and breathing, which are necessary for proper speaking.
• If you have persistent heartburn or GERD, talk to your doctor about diet changes or medications.
3. Use your voice wisely:
• Try not to overuse your voice. Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is hoarse or tired.
• Rest your voice when you are sick.
• Avoid screaming or whispering. Talking too loudly and too softly both can stress your voice.
• Practice good breathing techniques when singing or talking.
• Consider using a microphone when required.
• Consider voice therapy. A speech-language pathologist who is experienced in treating voice problems can teach you how to use your voice in a healthy way.