World Voice Day

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Swedish Otolaryngology

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Every year on April 16, otolaryngologists, head and neck surgeons and other voice health professionals worldwide join together to recognize World Voice Day. World Voice Day encourages men and women, young and old, to assess their vocal health and take action to improve or maintain good voice habits. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has sponsored the U.S. observance of World Voice Day since its inception in 2002. The theme for World Voice Day 2011, "We Share a Voice," reminds people of the value and significance of vocal health in everyday life.

The Voice and Swallowing Disorders Center at Swedish would like to remind you that on World Voice Day and everyday, it is important that you put your best voice forward. Remember that your voice is part of your appearance. Effective verbal communication depends not only on what you say, but also on how you sound. Our voice is what connects us and defines us as human beings. It is estimated that between 3 and 10% experience voice problems of some kind. Professional voice users comprise 25% to 35% of the U.S. working population. Their voice problems may interfere with job performance and impact costs for both employers and employees.

Professional voice users’ livelihoods usually depend, to a great extent, on the ability to produce voice. These professions include teachers, ministers, salesmen, telemarketers, telephone operators, actors, singers, radio/TV announcers, and attorneys. However anyone who relies on their voice heavily throughout the day may be considered a professional voice user. Although vocal sophistication, voice quality, and vocal demand may vary, professional voice users share a dependence on vocal endurance. Their constant voice use, or vocal load, required occupationally may lead to voice difficulties. Factors in the work environment may also contribute to vocal difficulty, such as the presence of background noise.

Problems reported by professional voice users are varied and may include hoarseness, voice
breaks or cracks, voice loss, weak voice, and vocal fatigue. Related physical complaints include shortness of breath, dry or scatchy sensation in the throat, throat discomfort, tightness, or pain, and effortful speaking. Chronic voice problems may result in laryngeal irritation and edema or in benign vocal fold lesions, including vocal fold nodules, polyps, hemorrhages, and cysts.