Voice Quake

I spend most of the day on the phone today.  Three of my calls are me presenting for an hour straight.  Throughout my day, I notice my voice.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m losing my voice.  It dips awkwardly and then cracks or tremors slightly as if I’m nervous.  Or, sometimes, I get a tickle in my throat and get an annoying cough to go with it.  Other times, I feel like my voice is booming.  The thing I can’t figure out is why.

My voice frequently sounds nervous even when I don’t feel nervous.  Then, when I notice my voice shaking, I worry that I sound nervous, which makes me nervous.  Most of the time, I just talk on through it or pause to clear my throat and then it seems to ease.  Every once in a while, it just gets worse and worse the longer I talk.  When this happens, I feel a growing tightness in my throat, like it’s closing.  As I continue talking, my throat keeps squeezing and I eventually choke on my words, literally.  Then, I have to stop and cough.

I haven’t really tried to compile data on what I’m talking about when this happens, but it seems like it could be something as innocuous as sharing product information.  I haven’t noticed any correlation between my level of confidence and my cracking voice–it seems to happen randomly.

I decide I should do some research.

What I learn is that my voice could be affected by many things.  One of which is fatigue.  Do I talk too much?  Oddly, on a day of 3 hours of presenting plus 5 hours of phone calls in which I participated in discussions, my voice acted up the worst on my first call.

Another possibility is the structure of my airway.  Apparently some airways are more apt to introduce vibrato than others.  But again, why is it that it’s so variable if it’s a physical thing that causes my voice to quake?

Another article suggests that the problem is a combination of not using my chest to resonate and aging, warning that the quake in my voice will only get worse if I don’t learn to use my chest.  Apparently I am overworking my vocal folds.  This turns out to be an ad for a voice coaching service.

I am intrigued.  Should I buy the DVDs?  Can I improve my voice?  Would it help my career?  Could I truly speak more authoritatively?  The DVD set is $297.  I think I’ll pass.

Next, I find a multitude of web sites that tell me throat problems develop when the throat chakra is not open.  Apparently, if I fail to speak the truth, express my feelings, or deny my values in any way, I am opening myself up for voice issues as a result of this chakra.

I have to say that I was raised firmly within a scientific paradigm where objective evidence in the form of the double-blind study is king and things like chakras sound a lot like voodoo.  The thought of healing a chakra to speak clearly seems a bit like, well, nonsense.

On the other hand, finding that modern medicine often falls short on treating simple problems without causing bigger ones, I have researched a lot of approaches to well being that fall outside classic scientific research.  When it comes to curing what ails me, I take the mindset of “who cares if it’s a placebo effect if it works, doesn’t cost much, and isn’t harmful?”

What I know is that yoga makes me feel significantly better both physically and mentally.  I also know that yoga is supposed to have something to do with chakras, which I have never really taken much interest in understanding.  But, it goes to follow that if practicing yoga makes me feel better, then maybe trying this throat chakra crap is worth a go?  Maybe I shouldn’t call it “crap” if I’m going to give it a go?

So, I have decided to try a few exercises I found online for one week to see if there is any improvement.  It’s free, does no harm, and should be an interesting experiment.  Not a scientifically sound experiment, but an interesting one none-the-less.

My hypothesis:  perhaps my voice is telling me something.  Through performing simple exercises to “open the throat chakra,” maybe I’ll figure out what my voice is trying to say.  Worst case, it will be relaxing.

If that fails, maybe I’ll try the DVDs.