The Environment and Your Voice

Dr GW Graham

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The Environment and Your Voice

Even in our Internet world, our ability to communicate still includes using our voices. For most people our voices are our jobs. This is most obvious with singers and public speakers. So what happens if the voice or speech quality suffers? Loss of income, of course. So this is serious stuff.

The most common vocal problem is hoarseness. Hoarseness can be a temporary response to a temporary trauma or a symptom of serious diseases. Many people can walk into a room full of smokers and suffer a few hours of hoarseness. As a matter of fact, this happens so often that many people consider hoarseness a normal condition. It reminds me of a line the late comedian Buddy Hackett was famous for. "When I went in the Army and began eating Army food I found out that heartburn wasn't normal."

According to Drs Nagarathna and Nagendra, hoarseness is due to one of three factors: Spasms of the tissues that control vocal chords movement Thickness of the vocal chords from inflammation Blockage due to phlegm or other mucus conditions living122042005519.asp

The first example can come from over usage. You see this in music fans at a concert. The crowd's enthusiasm creates a yelling contest. As each fan tries to win the title "Greatest Fan" the strain on their vocal chords increases. chords,+inflammation&hl=en

Inflammation is due to the body's response to some foreign material. The leading cause of inflammation is household mold. When spores are breathed in and get lodged on the vocal apparatus, fungal parasites can grow rapidly. The throat is an ideal growing environment. It is warm, moist and there is a good source of nutrition...YOU.

In cases of individuals with suppressed immune systems, the parasites can actually overgrow and coat the throat and mouth.

As the parasites grow they burrow into the mucosa (skin) of the throat. As they do so, the body responds with the typical inflammatory response. This includes redness swelling and spasming of the tissues. paralysis.htm

Since sound is based on air space, this swelling changes tones and other harmonics. Now if you sing like me this is no great problem. I have actually been asked by churches to keep quiet. "The Angels are complaining."

Mold doesn't just attack the vocal apparatus in the throat. It also imbeds itself in the sinus cavities. The sinus can become clogged with polyps and nodules. These are the body's attempt to defend against the invaders. Sounds can be affected.

If the sinuses get infested with fungus, the body also produces an increase in mucosal fluids (snot and phlegm). This drains down the back of the throat causing chocking throat irritation, and blockage.

In worse case scenarios, inflammation can lead to necrosis of vocal chords. Long term the swellings block blood flow and cell death can occur. In really worst case scenarios, cancer is possible.

Now that I have scared the pants off you, lets talk solutions.

If you Google the Internet, you get 336,000 hits on vocal chords. Most of these hits deal with solutions to vocal chord problems, i.e. ways of getting rid of hoarseness and sore throats. There are a wide range of pills (with their wide range of side effects), sprays, Chinese herbs, acupuncture and even Yoga.

We recommend a blend of citrus extracts.

It is topically soothing and rids the body of the fungal parasites that cause the problem.

An even better solution is to avoid contamination in the first place. Most of the people with fungal problems picked them up at work or at home. Usually it is caused by poor ventilation and water.

Whatever you do DON"T try to kill the fungus with bleach or poisons. They don't work and they tend to burn the throat. We are trying to get rid of throat problems, not exchange one for another.

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