When many people lose their voice, have a sore throat, or have laryngitis, they will resort to whispering in order to save their voice. However, this may, in fact, be worse for your voice and vocal in the long run. Due to many people not whispering correctly, it can put even more strain on your voice. So, what are people doing wrong when whispering and how does it affect your voice? Continue reading to learn more about the effects of whispering on the voice.
What Is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is classified as an inflammation of your vocal cords. It can be caused by many different things. Some of the main causes include overuse of the voice, irritation, and infection. When you have laryngitis, your vocal cords will become inflamed and irritated. This causes your voice to sound hoarse, and in some few cases of laryngitis, you may not be able to hear your voice at all.
In some cases, laryngitis lasts for only a few weeks and you can go about talking normally. However, there are a few cases where it becomes chronic. The Mayo Clinic recommends talking with your doctor if you have it longer than 2 weeks.
What Is A Whisper?
When someone has laryngitis, they will tend to whisper in order to save their voice. However, what exactly is a whisper? A whisper is defined as “speaking very softly using one’s breath without one’s vocal cords”. Many people do know this definition but don’t pay close attention to it. It says “without one’s vocal cords” this means that you are not using them at all. However, when many people whisper, they may feel like they can’t be heard. This causes them to loud whisper, and this is where the vocal cords are put under strain. If it continues and you do nothing about it, you can be on the receiving end of many side effects. To whisper properly, just whisper how you normally would, but don’t use your voice. You know you will have done it right when you can barely hear yourself when whispering. While you may be tempted to speak up, don’t because you put yourself at risk of the negative effects of whispering.
Effects Of Whispering On The Voice
As previously mentioned, when you loud whisper, you are actually not helping your voice recover. Instead, you are putting your vocal cords under strain as opposed to just letting them rest by not talking or whispering properly. Some people are naturally stubborn and won’t let their voice rest, and instead, talk through the hoarseness. Even though you are not talking as loud and may think you are not putting a strain on your voice, this is what can lead to chronic laryngitis.
Other ways that whispering can affect the voice are when you suffer from supraglottic hyperfunction. This is essentially a squeeze of the vocal cords which can cause further irritation. One study had 100 patients count from 1-10 in a normal voice and a whispered voice. The researchers then looked at the supraglottic hyperfunction (SH) and vocal folds during these exercises. They found that 69% of people had increased SH while whispering, 18% had no change, and 13% had less SH.
Alternatives To Whispering To Save Your Voice
Due to the many ways that whispering improperly can harm your voice when you have an irritated throat, it may be wise to find some alternative. This could be simply not using your voice at all in order to preserve it or finding some other form of communication.
If you are at home all day lying in bed due to sickness and have a sore throat, you will probably be needing assistance doing many things. This can cause problems as you won’t be able to communicate and let someone know you need help. Whether it be ringing a bell or knocking on the wall, you need to have something. However, thanks to technology, we can simply shoot a text to someone to let them know. But if the person does not have their phone on them, it is best to have a backup.
If you have a job that does not require you to speak consistently, and you are cleared to show up for work, you may still have trouble communicating with your co-workers. Instead of whispering and potentially damaging your voice when someone doesn’t hear you the first time, shoot them an email or text message to inform them of something.
While the effects of whispering on the voice can easily be avoided by simply not whispering or whispering properly. Even though you may be tempted to, it is important to remember that if your voice is sore or you have laryngitis, the best thing you can do is rest your voice. Be sure to check out one of our previous articles to learn about How Stress & Anxiety Affect the Voice.