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What Has Losing Your Voice Taught You?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

July 12, 2011

Comments (10)

A young woman getting her throat examined at the doctor's officeHave you ever lost your voice? Ever been struck down by laryngitis or a more aggressive vocal disorder?

While most of us take our voices for granted, a prolonged lull in conversation so to speak can be quite telling and may provide us with greater insight that would not have been accessible to us otherwise.

How has the loss of your voice or dramatic change in your ability to vocalize affected you?

Share your stories in today's VOX Daily!

The Sound Of Silence

As a professional voice user, you've likely had a period of time or many times where you have lost one of the most effective communication tools available to you... your voice. Losing your voice can be traumatic for anyone, however, for people who rely upon their voices to make a living, the loss can be financially damaging in addition to inconvenient.

I recently heard a talk via radio given by a woman named Rhea Zakich who lost her voice and shortly thereafter discovered how greatly she had depended on it. Reader's Digest profiled her in their August 1986 issue.

During her period of vocal rest, Rhea detailed things not to do such as go to the bank and write a note. She also learned about how complex the vocal mechanism is and struggled with the reality that she might never regain her voice. She couldn't imagine a life of meaning without a voice and came to realize that she didn't know of any other way to communicate except for with her mouth. Rhea perceived that everything in her life that had meaning (being a wife, parenting, teaching and so on) required her voice and she felt like she was going to die.

I'm sure you've been there and can relate to much of what Rhea Zakich went through in your own way.

After 90 days of not speaking (with surgeries in between) she gained a new appreciation of the importance of listening and was able to acknowledge how ineffective the spoken word can be if it is not used or received appropriately. The real key for her was listening in order to communicate better and more fully with her family.

How Has Silence Proven Golden For You?

As you know, listening is one of the most important skills you can hone when voice acting and an indispensable life skill in general.

If you have a story to share about how you were able to make the most of a voiceless or semi-voiceless state, I'd love to hear from you!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©iStockphoto.com/webphotographeer

Related Topics: disorder, exam, Focus on the Family, laryngitis, listening, operation, radio, Rhea Zakich, throat, voice


Comments


    As a Minister and Talk show host I always found that on many occasions listening is a better form of communication. I receive more complihments and thanks from individuals who thanked me for "being there" and for my help when really I did not say much at all. Yes, good listening skills is the best way of communication skills a person can have.
    Of course, some where along the way speaking (or writing) comes in to play.

    Posted by:
    • Dennis Osborne
    • July 12, 2011 3:11 PM

      Effective listening is a lost art.

      This story is scary since I have 12 hours booked for audio book work next week and another another client is looking to have me for several other projects.

      YIKES!!

      No rest for the pipes!

      Thanks for these daily gems.

      David

      Posted by:
      • David Cook
      • July 13, 2011 9:37 AM

        Yes, I agree we communicate better when we listen more. But nobody wants to realize that with the sacrifice of losing our voice.

        People lose their voice because of the wrong way they project their voice. We CAN speak for long hours without experiencing hoarseness, sore throat or losing voice if we breathe correctly and use our own in-built amplifier.

        Posted by:

          Nope; it DOESN'T happen to ever actor, and it IS a big deal...

          Posted by:
          • Sean St Louis-Farrelly
          • July 20, 2011 12:14 PM

            My voice cracked 2 years ago during my PA gig for a major college marching band.

            Posted by:
            • Peter Clay
            • July 20, 2011 12:15 PM

              In my dreams when I try to scream or call out to someone... find it again when I wake up though ;)

              Posted by:
              • Jana Wilkes
              • July 20, 2011 12:15 PM

                This used to happen to me every autumn.. then for some reason it cleared up.

                Posted by:
                • Paul Bellefeuille
                • July 20, 2011 12:16 PM

                  2 years ago I was doing commentary at a gaming event in southern NJ for my eSports company. The place had hundreds of people there and thousands ready for me to listen in on the matches. Before I went to setup my system for the live stream, I decided to play some Rock Band which was setup on the side. An hour of playing and singing into the mic, I ended up completely losing my voice and I had to setup and get ready for the broadcast within a few hours. It was a scary feeling.

                  Posted by:
                  • Leo Gonzalez ‎
                  • July 20, 2011 12:16 PM

                    stage: " annie get your gun", plaster dust just wiped out my pipes with a curtain at 8. a lesson learned.

                    Posted by:
                    • Jim Hull
                    • July 20, 2011 12:17 PM

                      I do several "character" voices. One particular one is a character with a gravelly voice that always very excited and loud. It requires me to restrict my vocal chords and at the same time put a lot of pressure on them. One day after several attempts to record a promo using that characters voice, suddenly my throat felt like it had been cut with a knife. When I tried to talk I instantly spasmed into a cough. I let my throat rest a couple days, speaking in quiet tones and spending more time in silence. Since then from time to time I suddenly get that knife in the throat feeling and cough. And usually have to play nice with my throat for an hour or 2 to make sure I don't have long term problems. I have stayed away from that character voice because it wreaks havoc on my throat.

                      Someone told me that I may have caused a "Node" in my throat. Anyone have any advice for clearing up this condition. Or for doing a voice like I described, without putting that much pressure on my throat...or is it just safer to come up with easier voices?

                      Posted by:

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