By Stephanie Ciccarelli
July 2, 2009
Whispering may seem like a good way to conserve your voice, but in reality, it can be very taxing!
There are many myths out there about what does and does not hurt your voice. What happens if you whisper too much? Whispering, although many people tend to think it is harmless, does affect the voice in a negative way.
Find out what whispering does to your voice and how you can take care here at VOX Daily.
Whispering Kills Resonance?
I was reading up on an article on the Voice Academy microsite, hosted on the University of Iowa website, that covered vocal fatigue (quite a worthwhile read) and was happy to see a little bit about the affects of whispering on the voice.
The article related, that whispering is essentially talking without vibration of the vocal folds, and if the vocal muscles are fatigued, whispering won't allow them to rest. Also, whispering may have a dehydrating effect.
Just think about it:
Whispering is essentially talking without vibration of the vocal folds... if you don't allow your vocal folds to vibrate, you're constricting your vocal folds and are also not getting any beautiful or resonant sound out of your voice!
If your vocal folds are pulled tight, unable to rub together and remain moist as nature intended, it would make sense that a drying affect might occur.
Another thought just occurred to me as to why some people may think that whispering actually helps lessen strain on the voice.
When you are whispering, the audible volume of your voice is greatly diminished, giving the impression that the voice is not being used as vigorously or strenuously because it is quieter. While it may not be a loud yell or bloodcurdling scream, something that we know (commonsense) immediately abuses the voice, whispering silently stifles the voice unwittingly over time and may contribute to vocal fatigue among other things.
When I published an article about vocal rest several days ago, a comment came in from Priscilla Hamilton, sharing that whispering can be even more of a strain on the vocal folds than speaking. She also suggested that there is a misconception that it is OK to whisper while on vocal rest.
Even though some people may see whispering as a means to speak while on vocal rest, it might be better to just write down what you're trying to say on a notepad instead of straining the vocal folds during a period of rest or recovery.
In the same vein, if you are stuck in bed and also on vocal rest, ringing a bell, clapping your hands, or knocking on the headboard of your bed to get the attention of someone who may be caring for you is another way to prevent having to pipe up unnecessarily when your pipes are out of order.
What have your experiences been with whispering? Do you purposely avoid it?
Looking forward to hearing from you!