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Archive for February, 2015

When you got any voice disorder, your life could change (and not for the better), momentarily…

Just in the recent past, you were a regular person like everybody else, and that one morning when you woke up, you felt that your voice is a little shut down and that you had to clear your throat extensively to bring any sound out to the surface.
“That was quite unusual” you might have thought, and hoped that all of it would go away soon.
You started thinking that your bedroom was quite dry and maybe, in the recent past, you had some cold, and maybe the new showed-up symptoms were just the residuals of the latter.
You went through your day, still feeling uncomfortable with your voice and even feeling that something just got stuck inside of your throat.
By the evening, you also started feeling a pain in your neck and shoulders, and overnight, your throat was ‘literally’ on fire, as the gastric acid began burning your vocal cords.
Due to that, some of you have even experienced a shortness of breath, which could be very scary for anybody, as you feel that you could not take a full breather.
With all these symptoms, no doubts, you lost your sleep.
You couldn’t sleep also because you were worrying, not knowing what is happening to your voice and to yourself in general.
You got thrown out of balance and out of the regular routine of your life.
To focus at work became a real challenge.
For those who have to speak during the working day, it became a nightmare.
And for those whose singing is a full time occupation, the threat of loosing their careers and their livelihoods, became unbearable.
Could those speakers and singers claim their lives back?
Yes, the majority of them can!
That is the good news!
Is it easy though?
The answer is NOT AT ALL.
The “hardware”, so to speak, is broken.
The mechanism which allows  the voice to work in the fullest capacity possible, is dysfunctional.
Let’s imagine that one of us owns a very expensive Mercedes Benz.
Suddenly, that beautiful, prestigious car, stalls.
What would you do if that happened to your car?
   A. Wash, polish and wax the car?
   B. Put it in the garage to “rest” and hope that it will fix itself?
   C. Look for a highly qualified mechanic to fix the mechanical problem, which perhaps occurred
        under the hood of your car?
If you chose the latter, you most likely still have a hope.
The majority of vocal coaches and speech therapists offer to the sufferer  to take a vocal rest.
They also recommend to do the acupuncture and to see the osteopath or chiropractor.
The ENT doctors “prescribe” Gaviscon for acid reflux, which is actually available over the counter.
None of them offers to work on actually what’s broken, i.e., voice mechanics.
Unless you do so, you will forever be looking for a “magic pill”, or shots of botox.
To claim your life back, you have to understand what it takes and execute it in a full force; work smart, not hard, and with minimum effort, aim to achieve maximum results.
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Let’s suppose you woke up feeling ill and experiencing sore throat, cough and a fever. Naturally, you think that you got a cold or caught some kind of a virus

Nothing too dangerous, you may think…

So, for the next several days, you do everything to get rid of the symptoms. And yes, you were able to get rid of pretty much all of them, except your throat is still bothering you.

Moreover, after you knocked down your cold or your virus symptoms, you discover that, not only that your throat is still sore, but your voice is acting kind of weird.

It’s sounding kind of hoarse and raspy and you have to clear your throat every 15 minutes.

The time passes by and you are completely recovered on every level, but your voice is still sounding

Hoarse and not coming back to its normal state.

In this instance, you decide to go back to your family doctor, just to get a referral to an ENT specialist.

After waiting three to five months for that appointment, to your dismay, you find out that you actually have either a paralyzed vocal cord or spasmodic dysphonia!

How devastating it must be?

I agree, the devastation goes beyond words.

People who never had any problems with their voices are now practically disabled.

Some of them had to change their professions, as they could not teach anymore, be a crown attorney in court, or even continue to be a doctor’s assistant or just even an office secretary, where the person was required to answer the phone.

The worst part, especially for singers, was when the doctors, at best, gave them the diagnosis (not always the accurate ones), but never told them how to treat the problem, let alone cure it.

On that note, the effected people, (and especially singers), decided to go to a regular vocal coach in hopes to rectify their voice/vocal problems. They got regular style vocal coaching, but the voice problem was still remaining and never got addressed.

In some cases, the voice condition actually became worse.

For some reason, people in general do understand that, if some kind of internal organ problem occurs, they will be referred to a specialist who can attend to their specific problem.

The family physician is not the one who specializes in internal medicine.

Granted they have already been referred to the ENT specialist, but that is another story altogether.

The ENT specialist is not necessarily an expert in the voice mechanics. In real sense, to restore the voice mechanics to whichever degree possible, takes a vocal expert who specializes in such matters.

Yes, the ENT doctor could, for example, prescribe medication for the acid reflux occurrence, or the Botox injections, especially in the case of spasmodic dysphonia, which is, unfortunately, also only a temporary measure.

But beyond that would be only a surgical procedure offered, which also could be detrimental to your voice, (scar tissue and other post-operative residuals), or even your health and life in general. So your first measure would be to search for a voice/vocal specialist who has the holistic understanding how to approach the vocal issue mechanically, mentally, physically and emotionally, and how to cater it to a specific person and personality.

The regular vocal coach will not qualify for such tasks.

It is an incredibly intense and tedious undertaking which requires the special skills from the voice expert and, especially, patience and compassion towards the injured individual. As for the actual vocally injured person, it also requires willingness and ‘lovingness’, open heart and soul as well as patience, to except such services.

The vocal expert and the vocally injured person should outline the mutual goal and enjoy achieving the results.

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