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World Voice Day: All for the sake of those perfect vocal cords

Rajeev Khanna | Updated on: 15 April 2017, 17:25 IST

“The Human Voice is the most perfect instrument of all.”

This is a famous quote from Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. And he is right, because a little disorder in the voice can make one lose their bearings.

Sunday, 16 April is the 'World Voice Day' and it's a good time to pay attention to our vocal chords.

While pointing out that a healthy voice is an imperative for effective communication, authorities at the Chandigarh-based Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) shared some disturbing facts.

  • It has been underlined that globally more than 7% of the population suffers from voice disorders.
  • In India, the prevalence rate is around 8% of the total population. Voice problems may range from a change in voice to complete inability to speak. It could be either functional or organic.
  • Experts say that a voice disorder exists when a person's quality, pitch, and loudness differs from those of similar age, gender, cultural background and geographic location. Patients should be concerned when there is a persistent change in vocal quality including breathiness, hoarseness or complete loss of voice.
  • Other symptoms also include a persistent ‘funny' feeling or pain in the larynx, persistent feeling that the voice is 'stuck' in the throat, vocal fatigue and continuous pitch breaks.

 

Experts feel that the total number of patients with voice disorders has increased tremendously

PGIMER caters to the medical needs of patients from the five northern states and even those from other parts of the country. A spokesperson at the institute shared that the number of patients visiting ENT out-patient department at the institutions is 600 per day on an average and out of this eight to ten patients are diagnosed with voice disorders daily.

Experts feel that the total number of patients with voice disorders has increased tremendously over the period of time probably due to lifestyle modifications.

“These days people are taking too much of junk food and aerated drinks. This leads to improper levels of hydration in the body. The dehydrated body is also prone to gastro-intestinal problems. Lack of hydration is a cause of voice disorders,” Dr Banumathy, an ENT expert at PGIMER told Catch.She further pointed out that working in an environment where there is too much of exposure to chemicals also leads to such disorders.

She further pointed out that working in an environment where there is too much of exposure to chemicals also leads to such disorders.

Voice disorders are preventable

PGIMER is of the opinion that most of the voice disorders are preventable through appropriate awareness and public education programs. There are many ways in which people can conserve their voice and prevent the development of voice disorders, including:

– Keeping hydrated

– Minimising activities causing vocal strain such as yelling

– Warming up before heavy vocal use

– Using appropriate breath support

– Using amplification

– Paying attention to voice cues

The management of voice disorders involves a team of professionals including ENT specialists, speech language pathologists and psychologists. Recent advances in voice diagnostics and therapeutics have been a boon to people seeking remedy for changes in their voice.

 

The voice of 46 nations

In recognition of World Voice Day, to raise public and professional awareness about voice disorders, otolaryngologists, head and neck surgeons, speech-language pathologists and other vocal health professionals from across the world have come together.

With an aim to create awareness among general public to assess their vocal health and to maintain good voice habits around 46 countries have come together.

The authorities at PGIMER have planned events like free camps, voice assessment clinics, street plays and public interactions over the next three days to generate awareness among people.

“This will provide awareness and knowledge on voice and related problems, preventive measures for voice care to the general public and especially to the populations at risk for voice problems such as children and professional voice users. The motto is 'Put your best voice forward on World Voice Day and throughout the year',” said the PGIMER spokesperson.

First published: 15 April 2017, 17:25 IST
 
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