I’d been asked by an interpreter recently “How do I check if my voice is alright”. I thought it was a trick question – we’d just done a 2 hour voice workshop, but later I realised that some people who use their voice in their work all the time, just want to get on with the job and not think about their voice. Your voice will not sound good if you’re ill, or low or grieving. Your voice signals when you’re over-tired. How many of us are asked by friends “Are you feeling alright” when we’ve just answered the phone.
I took the opportunity to talk to Linda Hutchinson, a very good voice and singing coach, at the 2014 Voice Clinic forum and talked with her about how to check on your voice. We came up with the following:
Are you having to force your voice to get a sound?
When you say Ahhhh for 30 seconds is the sound continuous or is there a break?
Does your throat feel sore?
Is there any swelling in your neck under the areas of your ears?
Are you able to breathe in and out easily through your nose?
Are you able to breathe in and out easily through your mouth?
Is it a problem to swallow?
Do you have any pain around your neck, shoulders and upper back?
Is there a lot of breath escaping when you speak?
Does your voice change pitch suddenly?
Is there a ringing in your ears when you speak sometimes?
Does your voice sound nasal when your jaw is relaxed and easily opened?
Do you have heartburn or an upset stomach?
Do you have any noticeable tension in your head or chest when you’re speaking?