A good voice is an asset for politicians. But, on many occasions, they overuse their voice while addressing party meetings, rallies, gatherings and so on, disturbing their vocal health. During election time, they suffer most from voice problems due to its excessive use to reach out to the voters.
Politicians too approach the Professional Voice Care (PVC) unit at the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), a premier speech and hearing institute under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. So do professional singers, actors and teachers seeking relief from voice disorders and seeking expert advice on vocal health management.
Experts at AIISH say damage to the larynx, commonly called voice box, is a possibility if vocal health does not get proper care and attention. The voice box is a sensitive organ and surgery to the organ (for rectifying voice problems) can sometimes cause secondary complications. Therefore, preventive measures are always better.
“We have advised many politicians who approached us at the PVC unit with voice problems. Some had visited us after elections, complaining of discomfort and problems in speaking due to excessive use of voice. While some followed our advice on vocal health, others did not. They come back to us again with the same problems, seeking therapies,” explains K. Yeshoda, chairperson, PVC Unit, AIISH, Mysore.
Are there any precautions for taking good care of the voice? "Yes", says Dr. Yeshoda. With just few days to go for the elections to the State Assembly and as it is common to see politicians overusing their voice to influence voters, they can still take care of their voice by taking some precautions. Otherwise, it will cause problems which sometimes take time to rectify, she said.
The precautions recommended for preventing voice issues include:
Do not speak continuously without giving a break;
give rest to the voice box;
speech or talk sessions must be scheduled and 10-15 minutes rest after a speech session is very essential;
hydrating the body system with water;
avoiding loud talk and relaxing after a long talking session.
Dr. Yeshoda advised use of microphones or voice amplifiers for reducing stress on the voice box during election gatherings. "The damage to the voice could be more as politicians sometimes tour in dusty and polluted environment which affects their body system, causing fatigue," she opined.
Sometimes, excessive use of voice becomes unavoidable, but it should not become a normal practice. "If voice is taken care from the beginning, complications can be avoided in later stages," she said.
Preventive measures are always better though there are therapies and medicines to address voice problems. Though the PVC unit has not done any orientation programmes for politicians, it has done such programmes for teachers, musicians, theatre artistes, lawyers and others who tend to rely most on their voice.
“On an average, eight to 10 orientation programmes are conducted in a year by the PVC unit. We give advice and address voice problems, bringing the experts together. They can even visit us seeking professional help round-the-year. For upcoming singers, we give advice on improvising their voice quality, giving some important tips,” Dr. Yeshoda explained.
All about vocal health management, with tips from AIISH experts