If you think about what a wonderful device the human voices, it is simply amazing! From the beginning of our lives when we come into this world screaming to the last words we say we are always using it. Some fortunate people have even created art with their voice. But what exactly happens when we are having difficulty with her voice? Today we’re going to take a look at the voice, and hoarseness.
I know of a few other organs in the body with his much odd nomenclature as the human voice box. Take for instance the anatomical term is – the larynx. This is more commonly known as the voice box. It is the area that plays a crucial role in our speech, and breathing. It also helps to separate the air that we breathe, from the food that we eat. The voice portion, larynx, is separated into an upper portion (supraglottis) a middle portion (glottis) and a lower portion (subglottis). The actual voice is created from the middle portion. Within the larynx specialized muscles come together in a, “V” shape and vibrate together. This rhythmic movement created during inhalation and exhalation is what creates our voice. The characteristic narrowing and opening of this aperture in combination with muscular tension produces different pitches of the sounds that we hear. Some of you ever wondered why you go hoarse?
Hoarseness can come from a whole host of different reasons. For instance, if you’ve had an upper respiratory tract infection such as a sinus infection or cold the type of mucus that your sinuses generate changes. With this change comes a difference in the mucus is ability to lubricate the voice box. This will cause your voice to crack, go hoarse, and sometimes your voice will completely go away. Because mucus plays such an important role to the voice box I like to think of it as the oil that lubricates the engine of our voice. Certainly other factors can affect the voice as well through the same mechanism. Allergies, are another example that changes the mucus for the worse and can alter the voice.
Vocal abuse is another way in which we can create hoarseness. Who among us has not been to a concert and yelled overly loud only to find out the next morning that you could not speak at all. This type of mechanism is really more like muscular overload, and secondary swelling. The vocal cords, which are very tiny, have been stressed over their limit and if you could see them with a microscope you would see that there is significant swelling and inflammation of the vocal cords and because of that the very fine contact points that allow you to generate your unique pitch have been damaged. Hopefully, for most individuals, it is only a temporary problem and will heal over time. Unfortunately, some individuals repeatedly do this type of damage to the vocal cords causing more permanent changes. Changes such as singers nodules, or vocal cord polyps, can occur over time and permanently change the lighting of the voice box.
The final group of individuals who have are the ones that are very concerning. These are individuals who, in many cases, have smoked and created chronic irritation of their voice box. Of course, most people are familiar with the deepening pitch of the voice box, as a person accumulates years of smoking. Unfortunately, the deepening pitch is not the only thing that changes with the voice box. The repeated damage caused by smoke can cause cancerous changes to the voice box. These changes very frequently alter the frequency of the voice, or sometimes remove it altogether. This is very concerning and needs to be looked at by a specialist. This is a condition that can be treated in many cases, if caught early enough.
So, when you find yourself alone today go ahead and sing out, and enjoy your voice. It is a most amazing instrument of our being. Think about your voice, and all that it does for you. Perhaps you are the most gifted singer (I know I am not) but your voice is still, your voice.