You know your voice matters when you’ve lost it
Is ageing, disability, injury or illness affecting your ability to be heard?
The pitch, pace, pause, tone and volume of your voice comprises about 38% of all your communication.
We challenge you to reflect on the quality of your voice, to take action to improve it whether or not you have lost it.
World Voice Day on 16 April, is an annual event highlighting the significance of the voice in our daily life.
The quality of your voice affects your communication, so it matters. There is a range of things you can do to improve it, such as
If your problem is significant then we recommend you see a Speech Language Therapist through the public health system or privately.
Some Christchurch people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, and Stroke, are learning to use their voice effectively with an initiative, the Cantabrainers Choir.
This is a choir with a difference. Its purpose is not so much to create sweet music but to provide a safe environment in which members can rediscover their voice.
Difficulties with vocal expression are common in neurological conditions. For example, in Parkinson’s disease, the voice can become very quiet, rapid, flat and monotone. Following a stroke, people may experience a complete or partial inability to form spoken words. Even with the ability to plan words and sentences people may lack the muscle coordination, making words sound slurred and incomprehensible.
Singing can be a route to overcome some speaking difficulties. For example, it is well known that people who stutter can often sing quite well; the underlying rhythm provided by music can overcome the difficulties in planning the sequencing of regular speech. For others, problems with speech may be due to memory impairment or word finding difficulty. The use of familiar songs, rhyming and repetition can be a very effective way of helping them become more fluent.
Research shows, after trauma the brain may recover some abilities given effort and the right stimulation. Like getting fit, rewiring the brain (neural plasticity) requires intensive exercise to be done accurately and regularly. Choral singing makes practice enjoyable while the group encourages rehearsing for longer and experimentation. As a result people may, for example, speak louder, for longer and use more words.
The Cantabrainers Choir was started in 2012 by Therapy Professionals Ltd with a small grant from Music Therapy NZ. The Choir is run by a Music Therapist and Speech Language Therapist because music and speech share many characteristics: pitch, rhythm, tone, pace and the volume.
After an initial 10-week pilot programme Therapy Professionals Ltd decided to continue the choir as the voice improvements and social benefits were so significant a – to quote a choir member, “The music has been a real uplift and meeting new people has been wonderful and so much fun. I have a lot more confidence than I had. It’s got me out of my cage”.
In early 2019 the choir was taken over by The Canterbrainers Therapeutic Choir Trust.
See their website: https://www.cantabrainerschoir.nz
If you have a neurological condition the Cantabrainers Choir is a choir for people with neurological conditions. It’s easy, just email email@example.com or phone: 022 593 5411.
f you are not being heard, you don’ t have to struggle alone. Therapy Professionals Ltd’s Speech Language Therapists can help you improve your voice.
Just contact Therapy Professionals Ltd on phone: 03 377 5280 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org