Let me inform you of an issue I refer to as, ‘description syndrome.’
The word ‘description’ refers to describing by quoting or reading something aloud, such as a speech or manuscript. A syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms that are observed in, and characteristics of a single condition. The underlying condition and symptoms are generally pathogenetically related.
There are no issues when having a daily conversation, but problems are clearly evident when reading aloud. Such problems and issues can be recognized as a feeling of choking, the voice does not echo, difficulty speaking smoothly, and struggling to let out or produce high-pitched sounds.
This is not a disease. That is why if you go to the Otological hospital, a doctor will usually diagnose and observe that you have no visible problem with your throat.
I’ve examined the throats of many announcers who are newscasters on TV stations as wells as radio stations, ranging from amateurs to professionals. Surprisingly, everyone I have examined with this specific issue states, “I always feel nervous before reading scripts.”
However, the degree of nervousness varies from person to person. This degree fluctuates and depends on the size of the audience and length of the script or speech.
I believe the reason to be, because of the combined mental and physical attributes of extreme anxiety/nervousness and ‘larynx deep positioning.’ The larynx is located deep in the throat, and when the muscles of larynx are not working (similar to hypertonic phonation) or moving properly, such as increased uplifting movements of the omohyoid muscle and/or the sternohyoid muscle, straining of the stylopharyngeus muscle and/or the stylohyoid muscle, and the hardening of the pharyngeal constrictors, such issues lead to larynx deep positioning.
Although, the pharyngeal constrictors are mostly related to swallowing, when these muscles harden, it causes adverse effects to the voice.
Furthermore, the thyroid cartilage is expanding in the throat. In the case of larynx deep positioning visually ‘in women’ the Adam’s apple looks hollow, whereas ‘in men’ the Adam’s apple appears almost invisible.
If you read aloud a script with status of the larynx in a deep position, the muscles will get harder and make it a struggle for the throat to move smoothly. This hardening will cause narrowing of the pharyngeal cavity, which produces sounds.
I advise practicing reading the script aloud to enhance comfort and ease. Make a mark on the script or point to places to take breaths rhythmically and precisely. Focusing on good breathing techniques will boost a smoother delivery of words, making the voice sound clearer. I also recommend using intonation in the voice to express stressed words when quoting or reading aloud. Expressing intonation not only holds the audience, but more importantly allows the audience to feel emotionally connected to the speaker’s message.
A dry throat or cough is common with description syndrome, because the thyroid cartilage, the hyoid bone and the cricoid cartilage get in deep. The space narrows between thyroid cartilage and the hyoid bone, impairing the blood circulation and reducing the amount of fluid in the throat. Try to stay hydrated and take cough drops in advance to reading scripted words before presenting them.
If you are excessively coughing, more then likely your vagus nerve is being pressed by the cricoid cartilage.
The resolution is as follows;
(1)Reduce the tension of larynx.
(2)Keep flexibility on the larynx.
(3)The position of larynx moves forward.
(4)Breath and do not strain. Then you can let out the voice easily.
Note:There are individual variables regarding the effect and outcome achieved.
If you keep in mind the above sequence and follow properly, your Adam’s apple will appear bigger on the throat and coughing will be reduced.
Being aware and informed of description syndrome symptom’s and treatments can lead to displayed improvement and help curb some of the recognizable characteristics when quoting and reading aloud in front of audiences.