Have you ever noticed that when you are extremely fatigued, your voice is much weaker than if you are energized? Not surprisingly, your vocal health is determined by the health of your entire body. Thus, if any of the following 5 factors are typical of your lifestyle, so too will the following 5 factors have an affect on your speaking voice.
1. poor diet
2. lack of sleep
3. obesity, if it inhibits your ability to breathe
4. use of tobacco, illegal drugs (and even some legal ones), and excessive alcohol
While you may have given little or no thought to the health of your voice, it is important to recognize that your vocal folds (cords) are an organ of your body. And, just as your heart or your liver or your stomach will be subject to the dangers of an unhealthy lifestyle, the quality, the range, and the facility of your speaking and/or singing voice will succumb to an unhealthy lifestyle as well.
Simply changing your lifestyle can have a huge impact on the health of your voice. However, take your change of lifestyle one step further and you will discover greater health not just for your speaking voice but for the rest of your body as well.
Many people contact me because of vocal abuse. In most of these cases, their diet, their sleeping habits, their weight, and their other lifestyle choices are not causing the abuse to their vocal folds. What is happening is that because of misplacement of the voice, these people are placing unnecessary strain and stress to those delicate organs. What this really means is that they are shouting or even just talking over extended periods of time which can actually cause damage to the vocal folds. (A good example of this is rooting for your favorite football or hockey team for 2-3 hours.)
There is a remedy for misplacement which will save your throat and your listeners’ ears! It is called projection – learning how to increase your volume without shouting. This can only happen, however, when you allow your chest to become your primary amplifier and not just your throat and vocal folds. In the process, you will discover a richer, warmer, deeper voice that will sound more mature and will last for greater lengths of time whether you are talking, singing, or vocally supporting your favorite team. In doing so, you will also discover less stress in your life because you will be breathing with the support of your diaphragm, something you are probably not doing right now.
Eat right, sleep long, watch your weight, and, limit or eliminate tobacco, drugs and alcohol and your speaking voice will thank you. Learn how to project your voice and your body will thank you for decreasing the stress in your life. And, in the process, you will discover a resonant voice that speaks volumes about you to boot!