We’ve previously talked about how singer Anders Edenroth suffered voice problems due to reflux. Moving along the same path we have been given the opportunity to talk to Elaine Eksvärd, rhetorician, lecturer and writer, about the importance of the voice for conversation, and what it’s like to have the voice as a working tool.
Getting one’s voice heard and getting one’s message across in a good way is important in many everyday situations. Many are afraid of being misunderstood in a conversation with a boss, or perhaps hurting someone you care about.
In the well-known Swedish rhetoric podcast, Snacka snyggt, Elaine Eksvärd goes through various everyday situations and teaches us how to sharpen our communication. And when we realised how many questions we had on the theme of the voice, it really felt exciting to have the opportunity to talk to Elaine about this.
The voice is important in daily work
We start by asking Elaine how she sees her own voice as a work tool. How important is the sustainability of the voice when using it in her daily work?
“It’s really important! I should know, I’ve lost my voice on three occasions over 15 years as a lecturer. You can’t do anything; you can’t go to work.”
She tells us that she works a lot with abdominal support and avoids going up in falsetto to maintain her voice as well as possible. In addition, she has sung in gospel choirs and with a singing coach. It has even helped her with speech techniques.
Good and bad voices
One of the big questions we want to ask, of course, is whether there are good and bad voices. Elaine would rather not talk about bad voices, but would prefer to see everyone as having developmental potential.
Elaine believes that the most important thing about a good voice is that it harmonises with the message of the words. To believe in what you are saying as a speaker and speaking with emotion if sharing emotions, and using a factual voice if sharing facts has a greater effect on the listener than using the same voice in many different situations.
It is also important that a speaker can judge the suitable sound level. Talking too loudly or too quietly can affect how seriously you’re taken. Going down in pitch at the end of sentences also helps to create authority.
Inappropriate throat clearing may reduce credibility
One thing that Elaine believes can lower the credibility of a conversation is frequent throat clearing. She gives an example:
“Let’s say your partner asks you: ‘You’re home late, where have you been?’ If you clear your throat before you answer, then one might wonder what you’re hiding?”
She herself also has a harder time with whiny voices or people who have a theatrical message, where the voice sort of transcends the message. Another phenomenon that Elaine finds difficult to listen to is people who talk on both in and out breaths.
IQoro can help prevent inappropriate throat clearing
Inappropriate throat clearing, a crackly voice or an annoying dry cough that can affect your authority in different ways as a speaker can actually in many cases be due to reflux. Gastric acid reflux in your throat can affect your vocal cords and mucous membranes, or irritate the airways.
The body’s defence against the corrosive stomach acid acts to create a thick protective mucus in the throat that you try to remove in vain through repeated throat clearings. You might also get a dry cough because the body tries to prevent the stomach acid from going down into the lungs.
The root cause behind these symptoms is a weakened internal musculature that causes the diaphragm to not be able to keep the stomach — and thus the stomach acid — in place as it should. This is called a hiatus hernia.
IQoro strengthens the internal musculature and reduces the amount of gastric acid that comes up into the throat. As the diaphragm gets stronger, you will experience fewer symptoms thus eliminating everything from having to clear your throat to that pesky dry cough.