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Voice Misuse in the Workplace

When considering professional communication, we put a lot of effort into what we say (the language of business) and how we say it (clear, slow speech). However, there is a third component of business communication that often goes unnoticed: how you use your voice.


When giving a presentation or speaking to a group, it’s important to speak with strong volume to project confidence and ensure your audience can understand you. However, many people go about creating this volume in an unhealthy way. Speaking with too much tension or not enough breath support will cause your vocal quality to suffer, and may cause physical damage to your vocal chords. Two of the most common injuries that can affect vocal function are nodules and polyps.


Both nodules and polyps are masses of tissue that form on the vocal chords due to vocal misuse or abuse. The causes of each differ slightly—nodules form when the voice is misused over a longer period of time (similar to a callous) and polyps typically occur from a single traumatic event (more like a blister). Although neither condition is typically dangerous, both prevent the vocal chords from closing properly, resulting in a hoarse or breathy voice.


Once a person has been identified as having nodules or polyps they may be treated medically or surgically to remedy the problem. In order to rehabilitate the voice and prevent the injury from recurring, a person will then undergo voice therapy with a speech-language pathologist. The speech therapist will act as a voice coach and provide strategies and exercises to help reduce vocal abuse and learn to use the voice in a healthier, more efficient manner.


If you feel hoarse after speaking in public, you may need help modifying your vocal technique. Contact us at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com to find a corporate speech-language pathologist who can help you learn to use your voice in the healthiest manner possible, and prevent vocal chord injury.