If you are one of the many people who rely on their voice for their occupation, learning how to ease the tension in your vocal cords can be very helpful and relaxing.
For people who use their voice for public speaking or just in their day-to-day jobs (which is most of us), vocal tension can occur under either circumstance. Vocal tension can sometimes lead to a hoarse voice or in severe cases can cause a vocal cord disorder.
These are some things that can help with relieving or preventing vocal tension and you can ask speech pathologist near you for help.
Warm Up Your Voice
There are exercises that you can do to warm up your voice and can help to reduce vocal tension. Every athlete should warm up their muscles before competing to avoid strain and injury. For those who use their voice, this is no different.
First, begin with the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which is found on either side of your neck running from your ears to your shoulders. Begin massaging downward with your fingers, starting with a little tension and building up. Spend at least 60 seconds massaging these muscles.
Next, stretch your neck and chin. Begin by placing your hand on your chest as though you’re pulling down on your skin. Next, raise your chin and put your jaw toward the ceiling for a second or so. You should feel the muscles that you’re engaging. Using one-second intervals, move your chin back and forth for 20 seconds.
Relax your tongue root by pressing your thumb against it on the underside of your chin with your thumbs. Keep up the pressure for 30 seconds.
Breathing Techniques to Loosen Tension
Breathing from your diaphragm helps to release tension on the vocal cords. Breathe in with your stomach instead of your chest to help vocal cords open correctly. It helps to look in the mirror when breathing to make sure the diaphragm is filling up on inhale. You may also want to practice by laying down, placing your hands on your stomach. You want your hands to rise and fall, not your chest. This technique can be further taught and practiced with your speech therapist.
Keeping your vocal cords hydrated is essential to both preventing and relieving vocal strain.
If you experience a change in your vocal quality or feel strain in your vocal cords, consult with a medical professional.
Speech language pathologists can help you obtain optimum vocal quality and help eliminate strain.