Are You A Super Bowl Screamer?
With the Super Bowl upon us, a Denver voice doctor is offering tips to fans apt to stress their vocal load -- or yell and scream a lot -- as the New York Giants and the New England Patriots square off in football's final showdown on Sunday.
"Prolonged screaming -- experienced regularly by enthusiastic fans watching sporting events -- is the most physically intense use of the voice," says Dr. Andre Reed, Medical Director for the Center for Voice and Swallowing Services in Denver. Dr. Reed is a Neurolaryngologist, a sub specialist in voice and swallowing, and an expert in helping people keep their larynx or voicebox healthy. "Sports fans often don't realize how loud they are, especially when they are in stadium crowds. Intense prolonged screaming overworks the larynx muscles and overworks the vocal load."
"Humans are not biologically designed to be prolonged screamers," says Reed. "Our screams are meant to be short -- to scare the beast away." Such stress on the vocal cords results in vocal fatigue, thus hoarseness, and can set people up for severe vocal injury.
Further, Dr. Reed cautions sports fans who talk all day -- such as presidential candidates, political pundits, teachers, lawyers and telemarketers -- that they are at particular risk, as their vocal cords are already taxed going into a game. "Many people have a sub-clinical voice problem and are not even aware of it," he said.
Reminders for Game Day:
-- Drink lots of water and rest voice the day of game.
-- Take mini breaks during the game -- two minutes off loud voice use, for every two minutes on.
-- Assume you are louder than you should be, and dial down the volume a notch.
-- If you are going to the Super Bowl in Phoenix, drink 64 oz. of water each day, 2 - 3 days before arriving.