Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Deep Breath

Nothing structurally wrong with my voice box. Not even the swelling and problems you might expect from some other health issues I have. After making the inside of my throath numb and sticking a lamp down there, the doctor wanted to discuss rhetorics and speaking to large groups. I was too healthy for him to bother talking about much else.

That was the good news. The bad news was that he could see I am using my voice wrong, I am straining it. So yes, it was what I was hoping for, I can do something about it with training. How is that bad news? Did anybody check where I live? In most places out of the big cities the voice trainers are concerned with the speach problems of kids: learn to say R, stop lisping, don't drop syllables - that kind of thing. That's not my problem. I don't even have a bad speaking voice. It may get a bit sharp at times, and according to reports I sound angry when I get intense, but it's relatively pleasant. What I do is I am forcing it - up or down, or just generally forcing it.

So, now my quest is: to find a voice trainer who understands the problems of adults who strain their voice. Until then my family has - with a certain glee - promised to let me know when I raise my voice unnecessary. My son, happily, countered my annoyed "go get your stuff" with a loving caring "be careful with your voice, Mom." It's no bet what snaps first, my voice cords or my temper.


Kristine said...

Det er jo en på høgskolen som arbeider med stemmebruk hos voksne - "stemmen relatert til funksjon og belastning i yrkessammenheng; profesjonell stemmebruk. Utvikling av funksjonelle talestemmer.".

Torill said...

har ikke hatt anledning til å ta kontakt med Irene enda ;)

J. Nathan Matias said...

Check with people in radio, or even better, take voice lessons from a singer.

Luca said...

the bad news is not that you live far from a voice trainer... have ever been to a voice trainer for adult?
No? Nor I, but a friend of mine after his PhD decided that he needed help to speak in pubblic and to large groups. So he went to a voice trainer that discovered that my friend was using wrong his voice (I think we all do) and he started a training session. Twice a week, mad voice exercises on how to use tongue or how to keep breath. After a year, I'm sure he's using his voice fine now, but it sounds the same to me.

ps: I still have to learn how to say R, but this give me a "french flavour" that I like!


Torill said...

So - I can expect a year of ridiculous exercizes and still not get a lovely, sophisticated, smooth voice that will entrall the audience at first murmur?

Well, I'll have to get accustomed to making silly faces and odd sounds then, because if it helps me hurt less, I am for it!

Unknown said...

I am a 48 yr old college prof who has had strangled voice dysphonia for ten years. My vocal cords are paralyzed. I was told I spoke wrong and have chased Docs from here to there. NO one has been able to help. Voice coaching did not help.... I have recently spoke to an ent that said, :Live with it!" Sheesh... good thing I know Sign Lanuguage....

Torill said...

I have been pretty lucky, I have just not done anything and my voice is healing. I am guessing the problems were:
1 conference I should never have gone to and never spoken at - I was really sick, but went because when people say they need me, I think I am irreplaceable. It was a throath infection, and speaking HURT.

2 trip to the other side of the planet half a year later, with a night out in Wellington, lots of drinks and lots of yelling in karaoke bars. That is definitely bad for you.

3 this lead to another throath infection, loss of voice at another conference, now in California only days after the not so smart trip to too many karaoke bars.

4 I kept hopping back and forth across the Atlantic that year, on long flights and to places where I was expected to talk, breathing that not-so-good air.

Since then I have kept quiet, both limiting my travel and limiting my public speaking, as well as the yelling in bars. It has worked, almost a year later I am feeling much better and my voice appears to be more robust. I guess I am by nature a gloomy silent norsewoman. Too bad I am by culture a very outspoken "Ålesunder." (Which means coming from Ålesund, my home town. Yes, we talk.)