My frequent hoarseness drove me to see a specialist to rule out cancer with a laryngoscopy. Then, I had 8 sessions with a speech pathologist who specialized in ‘Vocal Hygiene,’ (I love that title) for preservation and healthy maintenance of the voice. My hoarseness improved even on days when I went in with a hoarse voice. We explored exercises in pitch, resonance and respiration.

Some people say they like the hoarse deep quality of my voice. I know that when the hoarseness begins, and I continue to speak, it begins to hurt more and get worse. My vocal hygiene coach said, ‘Get your voice out of the basement.’ I had a tendency to let it drop very low which causes the vocal chords to vibrate harshly which caused further irritation.

I don’t want to be the kind of speaker that everyone watches as they take a drink of water. Instead, my vocal hygienist suggested I schedule drinks throughout my talk, in spots that a pause enhances the message. Good advice!