Vocal Abuse

I'm Abusing My Voice?

Potentially, yes!  Vocal Abuse/Misuse is also known as phonotrauma.  The primary component of phonotrauma is prolonged, effortful, and compromising vocal behaviors that compromise the vocal folds. Many behaviors are a result of slamming the vocal cords together very hard.  If done frequently, you may become hoarse, raspy or breathy because your vocal cords have become swollen.

There are several behaviors that cause phonotrauma:
  • Coughing/throat clearing
  • Excessive speaking during an upper respiratory infection
  • Screaming/yelling
  • Inadequate breath support
  • Grunting or sound effects while lifting weights or exercising
  • Excessive talking- This is evident in the case of "heavy voice users" such as sales people, presenters, singers, actors, clergy, teachers, stock brokers, trainers, coaches, etc.
  • Talking in noisy environments
  • Talking with excessive tension
  • Smoking irritants such as cigarettes, marijuana, electronic cigarettes, hookah
  • Speaking/singing in smoky environments
  • Speaking or singing an inappropriate pitch
  • Not drinking enough water to keep your vocal folds hydrated