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Vocal Health

What is vocal damage?

Vocal damage is literally what it sounds like it is. It is physical damage done to one or more of the speech organs. Usually vocal damage is inflicted upon the vocal chords. Most times this damage can be healed, but the damage can also be irreparable, and sometimes life threatening! If you begin developing nodules, or are continuously hurting your throat in speech, go and see a ENT before it is too late.

Here are some vocal ailments

Inflamed vocal chords. When your vocal chords are inflamed the area immediately around your chords is affected. When they are like this they are more vulnerable to infection and more damage from further use. (To protect your throat and vocal chords, your body produces mucus, which will often cause you to start clearing your throat more. Clearing your throat will only cause more vocal chord and throat irritation)

Vocal Nodules and Polyps. These are like little calluses or inflammations on your vocal chords, caused by incorrect use. They reduce your vocal range, are easily irritated, allow air to pass through the chords unchecked, are often painful and can be the precursor to the development of cancer. 

Causes of Vocal Ailments

  • Dehydration while using your vocal chords. Your body needs to be well hydrated for natural speech. If it is not, your articulators will not work as well, and your vocal chords will not vibrate properly.
  • Illness
  • Throat clearing, coughing and too much glottal attack
  • Bad speech technique 

Restoring or Maintaining Vocal Health

  • Rest your voice
  • Drink lots of tepid water
  • Stop Smoking
  • Rest your body
  • Relax all the muscles around the neck and shoulders
  • Take time out to sit and breathe properly
  • Stop pushing to project your voice
  • Stop shouting
  • Stop constricting the muscles in and around your larynx 


Medical work on the vocal chords is risky and can permanently damage them. Look after your voice so that you do not require surgery! 

© Donald Woodburn

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