Some learning points from Shelagh Davies-Speech Language Pathologist and Dr Paul Mok-Laryngologist

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Had lesson today with Shelagh Davies and Dr Paul Mok.. here are some of the things I learned:

1. Resonance

- No throat sensation

- Big resonance sensations far away from the throat

- Constricted sounds (humming, zzz, eee) booast good vocal fold efficiency

- Constricted sounds (humming, zzz, eee) are useful in training good voice production

- Nothing we ever eat or drink will touch the vocal folds for we will choke if it actually does. Lozenges are more for the comfort of the throat and not the vocal folds.

2. The Aging Voice-The process of Ossification

- Cartilages slowly becomes bone, causing stiffness but may help stablize structures during heavy singing.

- Muscle mass can decrease causing vocal fold bowing

- Edema (water rentention) near the vocal fold surface can cause roughness in vocal quality

- Muscles can stiffen, reducing pitch range

- Average speaking pitch tend to rise for men and fall for women

- Trained singers can retain strong and clear voice easily into their 70s

2. Vocal emergencies that will cause cancellation of performances(by Dr Paul Mok)

- Vocal Hemorrhage of the blood vessels under the vocal fold surface, resulting in scar formation or lesion if no rest

- Vocal Fold Mucosal Tear from harmful singing, shouting, severe cough and the vocal tissue begins to tear, resulting in loss of range and hoarseness, discomfort.

- Acute laryngitis from virus & bacteria from a cold and the vocal cords becomes heavy and unable to vibrate normally, causing hoarseness, low vocal breaks.

- Acute Edema from repeated vocal injury, causing scar to form within vocal cord mass. Voice becomes breathy and tired.

- Vocal nodules from vocal misuse & abuse.

- Intracordal masses- cysts or scars within the vocal cords from inflammation & scarring.

- Vocal polyps from habitual smoking and voice abuse.

The danger signs of the above are:

1. Roughness
2. Breathiness
3. Pitch breaks
4. Pitch change
5. Increased effort + Early Onset fatigue
6. Prolonged warm up time
7. Pain

Avoid taking lozenges with menthol and eucalyptus oil as it actually causes a numbing effect on the muscles, and gives the singers a false impression that the voice is relaxed.