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 Voice therapy tales

First Day

The first session is to really assess where you are in terms of pitch and to see want kind of things can be done with the voice. My therapist also told me that only 40% of communication is vocal and discussed some of the other ways we communicate and impart information.

This involved a rather interesting session with a soundblaster equipped PC to determine what my pitch was. The range for males is something like 70-220 Hz, with a mean of 128Hz. The range for Females is 120-530 Hz with a mean of 220Hz. (all approx at the moment because this is from memory).

My mean worked out at 115 Hz while my initial range was from 90-180 Hz.

Some timing was done to determine breath control and to make sure I had no voice or breathing problems. This involved saying "Ah" for as long as possible and then saying "Ess" and "Zed" for as long as possible.

My voice was also taped to provide a comparison for the weeks ahead so any improvements can be seen.

Below is a copy of a sheet I was given on vocal hygiene, obviously not all apply as it is a fairly general list, but there are still some interesting things there:

Vocal Hygiene Advice



Scream, shout or yell

Use non-vocal sounds, noises instruments, e.g. whistle, bell

Talk to people at a distance from you

Move closer to the other person

Talk in a noisy enviroment. e.g. over music, machines etc.

Reduce background noise. Position yourself close to other person and face them

Try to lecture/speak to a large audience without a microphone

Use a microphone

Sing, i.e. in a choir, pub etc.

Mouth a long if necessary

Sing beyond comfortable pitch & loudness range

Ensure you can hear your own voice

Yell/speak extensively during strenuous physical exercise

Wait until your breathing pattern can accommodate improved voice production

Clear your throat/cough habitually

Swallow hard and take a drink. If you really have to clear it do it slowly and gently

Talk on insufficient breath.

Pause regularly to take in enough air.

Avoid smoking and smoky atmospheres

Use no smoking areas

Avoid dusty or fume-filled atmospheres,  e.g. chalk dust, chemicals etc.

Use a dust mask if necessary or have a  drink nearby to stop you coughing

Avoid dry atmospheres

Position bowls of water near radiators around the house to humidify the air

Avoid using voice if it feels tired or strained

Learn to be sensitive to the early signs of  vocal fatigue. Stop talking before it's  too late!

Prevent yourself from becoming tense & tight around the head & neck region

Remain as relaxed as possible at all times, especially head & neck regions. Practise simple relaxation techniques.

At the beginning of a phrase avoid initiating
 with a harsh & sudden voice

Initiate voice gently

DO not suck methol/glycerine to soothe your

If your throat is dey, suck a pastille/boiled  sweet or drink some water

Avoid prolonged loud & vocally aggressive

Be aware of the effects of stress/emotions  have on your voice, especially if it causes muscle tension in your throat, chest & jaw. Try to stay relaxed, massage the tense areas. Chewing gum helps relax tongue & jaw muscles & produces a more relaxed voice.

Avoid "special effects" sounds. e.g. imitating
 nature sounds.


Take extra special care of your voice whenever
 you have a cold or sore throat

Use other methods of communication whenever

If you are a teacher, instead of shouting, use a bell/whistle to get silence. Have a glass
 of water sitting on the desk to help avoid throat clearing. Ask on of the children to clear
 the blackboard so as to avoid chalk or dust inhalation

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