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Why do I experience discomfort while speaking?

Q: I am a 37 years old female. Two months back, I shouted on somebody and could not speak properly after that. I had cold and cough for many days and the doctor says that it is a case of voice abuse. Please let me know how can my condition be treated.

A:Final opinion can only be given by looking at the cords, or a Fiberoptic videolaryngoscopy picture. However, here is a list of precautions for vocal hygiene.

  • Take care of any throat infection or irritation, and consult your ENT Surgeon.
  • Speak sparingly during colds and sore throats. Don’t sing.
  • Do warm saline/ betadine gargles for throat infection or irritation.
  • Have steam inhalation at least once daily.
  • Have frequent sips of water if talking for a long time. Don’t allow the throat to dry up.
  • Use moist duster for dusting, to rub blackboard etc.
  • Do humming exercises for relaxation.
  • Don’t whisper or shout.
  • Keep your head and neck free of tension and erect while speaking.
  • Avoid exposure to sudden changes in temperature.
  • Avoid dusty and smoky environment.
  • Check children from screaming and shouting.
  • Give rest to your voice after speaking for a while.
  • Don’t talk or lecture for more than 45 minutes at a stretch.
  • Don’t clear the throat by coughing, grunting or hawking severely.
  • Don’t strain to speak loudly, or speak loudly against noise
  • Don’t eat too much spicy foods.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco, betel or betel nuts.
  • Do muscle relaxation and breathing exercises
  • In order to breathe in and out freely, hold the head straight, the shoulders thrown back without stiffness and the chest forward, raise the chest by a slow and regular movement and draw in the stomach and release the breath gradually.
  • Assume an easy standing position without any support, weight on the feet, chin in, chest up, though not held rigid. Place the hand across the stomach with the fingertips touching at the center. Breathe easily and quietly, feeling the expansion of the abdomen in front, at the sides, and take care that the upper portion of the chest remains passive and relaxed.
  • Sit erect in a chair; place your hands on the sides of your chest at the lower edge, with finger towards the front and thumb toward the back. Blow out as much air as possible, squeezing inward with your hands as you do. Now inhale rapidly, taking in as much air possible and expanding as you take it in, Follow this movement with your hands. Remember: expand when you inhale, contract when you exhale. Repeat it 11-12 times without stopping.

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