The Silent Cough Technique

17 Dec

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Darn it, it’s happened again! I’ve lost my voice.

Most times when I get sick, my voice goes.
Even though I haven’t spoken for 3 days, my voice is still very weak.

Healthy vocal folds, located above the windpipe, need to be well lubricated & pliable in order to vibrate rapidly & close fully, producing the best sounds. Irritation & inflammation can stiffen the folds so that they do not vibrate as well or come together completely, producing a rough, breathy sound.  Most people don’t quite understand that when you lose your voice, there’s things you just shouldn’t do.  Like whispering.  Whispering actually smacks the vocal folds together with more force than normal, which is not conducive to healing.

Now, since I prefer to look after my precious (sensitive) vocal chords, I know also that coughing or clearing my voice loudly is also not helpful.  I learned it’s far better to learn the “silent cough” technique which was developed by Dr. Thomas Murry, Clinical Director, and Professor of Speech Pathology at Columbia University.  The “silent cough” is a way to clear the throat without violently banging the vocal folds together.  This is how it works:

– Breathe in air & blow it out fast through your throat & mouth without making a sound.
– Immediately tuck your chin down toward your chest & make a strong swallow.

The silent cough often clears mucous that clings to the vocal folds or near them, & helps to prevent unnecessary trauma to the vocal folds.  Then, your voice has a better chance of returning sooner — rather than later!

Happy Recording!
Rose Caiazzo, Professional Voice Over Talent
Based out of *fantastical* Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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2 Responses to “The Silent Cough Technique”

  1. A December 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Whispering doesn’t smack the vocal folds together; this is what happens in coughing and throat clearing. In whispering the cords are held slightly apart which tires them out because they are supposed to vibrate.

    • Rose C December 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

      Interesting. It’s tough to find this nugget of information anywhere… Do you have a site you got this from?

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