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Acquire: Backup

So we’ve booked that speech, recital, or interview. Or, we’ve just finally scheduled that important talk when suddenly our voice isn’t working.

It can be anything from slight hoarseness to painful throat that doesn’t stop even when you aren’t using your voice. Here is when I say for the cheap seats in the back. your voice is never lying to you.

The voice is a tattle tale.

Your voice is the very top of your primary airway and it does not play. If there is any inflammation or irritation in the system, it will tell you. The voice has your back, I promise. Please, please, please do not ignore these signals.

If you have been ill and know exactly where your throat discomfort is coming from you might be able to treat the symptoms and proceed with caution. Importantly, when you are voicing with this type of distress make hydration your job, and use your best breath support. In any case, if these symptoms don’t resolve in two weeks you should see a doctor sooner if you are an occupational or professional voice user (teachers, attorneys, trainers, public speakers, singers, etc).

If you ‘did’ something and know it such as feeling a tweak or some other abrupt sensation followed by pain. This may require more care. If it doesn’t resolve fairly quickly you might want to get to a medical professional sooner rather than later. If you use your voice as a significant part of your work that medical professional should be a laryngologist.

Please be wary of over the counter remedies or armchair medical advice. All professional voice users have tips and tricks that work for them. What they might not have enough background in physiology to begin to know what is happening with your voice, much less help you treat it.

Having a sub-par voice day is not a judgment on your character. Everyone has had an illness or injury large or small to the vocal instrument. Everyone. The key is to have a backup plan in place to help you get through it all.

While we are on the subject of backup, you need a team to help you navigate voicing. I have trained my voice for the past 30 years and have sung professionally for well over a decade. I couldn’t do it without my core voice team:

Susan Eichhorn Young, the woman who keeps my voice on-track
My Laryngologist, Dr. Burns and the incredible SLP staff at The Voice Center
James Myers, my coach, accompanist, and accomplice

These people are my ears and the guardians of my instrument. Who is on your team?

Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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