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According to the National Institute of Health in their 2004 “Statistics of Voice, Speech and Language,” approximately 7.5 million people in the U.S have trouble using their voices healthily. As practicing speakers in a speech class, we have actually increased our risk for vocal disorders if we aren’t also practicing good vocal health.Now, I’ve done a lot of research on vocal health for my job as a High School Vocal Teacher, and have seen a lot of injuries that could have been prevented simply if the person had knowledge of their vocal cords.
It is my mission today to give you information that will help you stay healthy, including: function of your vocal cords, symptoms of disorders, common disorders, and methods of prevention.Transition: “Let’s start by talking about the Function of Vocal Cords”
[Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Photo]Two PurposesBreathingPhonation (creation of sound)How do they work?When BreathingThey open to allow air into lungsWhen PhonatingThey open and close to produce vibration. When lubricated and receiving adequate rest, no harm will occur. [Transition: So let’s look at some of the abusive behaviors that cause our vocal cords to excessively vibrate]
Abusive BehaviorsNational Institute of Communication Disorders wrote on the topic of “Disorders of Vocal Abuse and Misuse” in 1999 and found that these behaviors in excess are 5 main causes of vocal abuse disorders:Speaking, Screaming, YellingSingingClearing Throat CoughingInhaling irritants[Transition: These Abusive Behaviors typically lead to 2 main types of injury]
2 Types of InjuryLARYNGITIS (Acute or Chronic)American Academy of Otolaryngology in 2006 said Laryngitis is the most COMMON vocal cord injury.And theUniversity of Rochester Health Services defined it in 2004 as an inflammation of voice box due to overuse, irritation or respiratory infection.Acute lasts less than 2 weeks, while Chronic is intensified and lasts over 2 weeks.VOCAL LESIONSDr.Ken W. Altman from the Center for Voice at Northwestern University wrote “Benign Vocal Lesions: Nodules, Polyps, Cysts” in 2002 and claimed that these lesions are abnormal tissue growths on vocal folds from too much friction Papilloma “Polyps Softer- like a blister Only on one vocal fold Nodules “Singer’s Nodes” Harder- like a callus On both vocal folds
Laryngitis Rest, Hydration, and depending on severity, voice therapyLesions Surgery, Voice Therapy, Rest, Hydrate *surgery causes scar tissue, which is why many singers truly fear vocal nodes.[Transition: I’m assuming nobody here wants any of these vocal disorders, so let’s learn a couple easy tips how to prevent them…]
PreventionAvoid raising your voiceDrink water and imit coffees and other caffeinated beverages that could cause drynessAvoid smoking and second hand smokeContact a Speech Pathologist, Vocal Teacher or your own Medical Doctor to learn how to use Proper Technique when phonating. [Transition: Now that we’ve learned the basics, let’s go back to our opening agenda and make sure we covered everything.]
Today’s Mission was to give you information on function of your vocal cords (breath and phonation),
symptoms of vocal cord disorders (like scratchiness, raspiness, coughing),
common vocal cord disorders (Laryngitis, Polyps and Nodes),
and tips for prevention of vocal cord disorders (like controlling your volume, and hydrating).Along with the skills we’ve learned from this speech course on how to present content, I hope that you’ve all learned a little something today on how to preserve your vocal health.
remember… it’s your voice… speak responsibly.
Informational presentation- SPH 101
K A T E M . B E R T E L L I
D I R E C T O R C H O R A L M U S I C
H A N O V E R H I G H S C H O O L
An inside look at your vocal cords