Speakers Throat

Description, Causes and Risk Factors: The throat is a vital part of the public speaker's. It is surprising that so little attention is given to vocal hygiene. Speaker's throat is the result of improper use or overstraining of the voice. Sometimes the earnestness of the preacher causes him to "clutch" each word with the vocal muscles, instead of using the throat as an open channel through which the voice may flow with ease and freedom. Many speakers, in an endeavor to be heard at a great distance, employ too loud a tone, forgetting that the essential thing is a clear and distinct articulation. To speak continuously in high pitch, or through half-closed teeth, almost invariably causes distress of throat. When the throat becomes husky or weak it is a timely warning from nature that it needs rest and relaxation. During the summer months, allergies are a common cause of Speaker's Throat. Many individuals have allergies to pet dander, dust, mites, pollen and molds that can trigger an allergic reaction which present with runny nose, red eyes, congested nose and throat irritation. Often a dry cough may also be present. When the environment is dry especially in winter, it can create a sensation of dryness and a scratchy feeling in the throat. This is most commonly observed in the morning. Other individuals who also develop speaker's throat those breathing through their mouth because of a congested nose. Environmental pollution is also a common cause of speaker's throat. In fact, indoor pollution because of tobacco smoke used to be a common cause of throat irritation. Other items known to induce throat irritation include alcohol, spicy or hot foods and smokeless tobacco. Other Risk Factors:
  • Common viruses, including the viruses that cause mononucleosis (mono) and the flu. Some viruses can also produce blisters in the mouth and throat.
  • Infection of the tonsils or adenoids.
  • Breathing through the mouth or smoking can produce throat dryness and soreness.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) while lying down or sleeping.
  • Sinus drainage (post nasal drip) from allergic or chronic sinusitis.
  • Bacterial infections.
Symptoms: Symptoms may include:
  • Swollen tonsils.
  • Enlarged and tender glands in your neck.
  • A painful, tender feeling at the back of your throat.
  • Discomfort when swallowing.
  • A high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100°F) or over.
  • Aching muscles.
  • Headache.
  • Tiredness.
  • Cough.
  • Runny nose.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis of a speaker's throat may include a physical exam and throat culture. Your doctor will start with a physical exam that is generally the same for children and adults. The exam will include:
  • Using a lighted instrument to look at your throat, and likely your ears and nasal passages.
  • Gently feeling (palpating) your neck to check for swollen glands (lymph nodes).
  • Listening to your breathing with a stethoscope.
Throat swab: With this simple test, the doctor rubs a sterile swab over the back of your throat to get a sample of secretions. The sample will be checked in a lab for bacteria. Many clinics are equipped with a lab that can get a test result within a few minutes. However, a second more reliable test is usually sent out to a lab that can return results within 24 to 48 hours. Treatment: A leading physician confirms the opinion that the best gargle for daily use is that of warm water and salt. This should be used every night and morning to cleanse and invigorate the throat. Where there is a tendency to catarrh a solution made of peroxide of hydrogen, witch-hazel, and water, in equal parts, will prove efficacious. Nothing should be snuffed up the nose except under the direction of a physician, lest it cause deafness. The diet of the public speaker should be reasonably moderate, and the extremes of hot and cold avoided. The use of ice-water is to be discouraged. Many drugs and lozenges are positively injurious to the throat. For habitual dryness of throat a glycerine or honey tablet will usually obviate the trouble. Dr. Morell Mackenzie, the eminent English throat specialist, condemns the use of alcohol as pernicious, and affirms that "even in a comparatively mild form it keeps the delicate tissues in a state of congestion which makes them particularly liable to inflammation from cold or other causes." A few easily remembered suggestions are:
  • Rest the voice for an hour or two before speaking in public.
  • Gargle the throat night and morning with salt and water.
  • Never force the voice.
  • Avoid all occasions that strain the voice, such as prolonged conversation, speaking against noise, or in cold and damp air.
  • Practice deep breathing until it becomes an unconscious habit.
  • Favor an outdoor life.
  • Hum or sing a little every day.
  • Discontinue public speaking when there is a severe cold or other affection of the throat.
  • Rest the voice and body immediately after speaking in public.
NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.  


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