Now Hear This!


How’s your voice? No, I’m not suggesting you practice singing in the shower and try out for American Idol, I’m talking about the health of your speaking voice.

For many of us, our voice is our livelihood. To be effective teachers, we must speak often and for long periods of time each day. If you’re a Physical Education teacher, it’s easy to get into the habit of speaking loudly, or even shouting to be heard. Of course, this is a no-no on more than one level..

Too many of our colleagues suffer from vocal nodules – or worse – and the cumulative effect over time can be really impactful.

A recent article in USA Today, listed these preventative suggestions:

• Sip lots of water – but avoid alcohol and caffeine
• If you smoke – quit. And avoid second-hand smoke
• Humidify your home
• Use a microphone when possible
• Speak softly, but don’t whisper
• Take frequent speaking breaks
• Consider voice training
• Avoid singing or speaking when your voice is strained

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, Chair of Otolaryngnology at Long Island College Hospital says,
“Few teachers with hoarseness ever see a doctor or speech therapist, and many could benefit.”

He goes on to state that anyone with persistent hoarseness should find out what’s causing it.

Friends and colleagues, many of you are “vocal athletes.” I hope you’ll take good care of your voice so you have a long career in teaching, or on stage with Ryan Seacrest if that’s your true goal!

Anyone have a related story to tell? We’d love to hear your thoughts – just “speak up” by typing, not shouting and straining your voice…

-Paul Rosengard

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