Thursday, April 04, 2013


Charles Barkley, former 11-time NBA All Star turned sports commentator,  tends to use up his voice power. In one broadcast, he can be reduced to a whisper.

The University of Alabama Birmingham had one of its otolaryngologists view a film of Barkley performing.

The man, apparently, suffers from phonotrauma--vocal cord hemorrhage from shouting over noise.

To talk, the lungs push air through V-shaped folds to produce a vibration, pushing the folds aside. After a time, the swallowing muscles in the  throat try to close the folds, which tightens them. Vibrating swallowing muscles sound raspy.

Dehydration can strain a voice--alcohol or caffeine can worsen that. Acid reflux is also bad. And fatigue.

If you are prone to this, stay hydrated--twice as much water as other beverages. Avoid yelling, rest. And keep to a normal tone.

Avoid menthol drops--they dry. Use fruit-based or glycerin-based lozenges.

Warm tea with honey is helpful.

And maybe in Barkley's case, a few moments of silence.


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