Top 3 Ways to Help a Nasal-Sounding Voice
By Susan Berkley
A subscriber writes:
“I enjoy reading your newsletters – Like many people I want to improve my speaking voice as I am keen to help with my work on radio. I notice my voice is often a little too nasal and wonder if there is something I can do.
“When people complain about the sound of their own voice, they often think they sound too nasal. When you listen to yourself speak, the voice you hear inside your head is distorted by the bones of your skull. Your voice might sound nasal to you but normal to others. But if you are getting feedback from others that nasality is a real problem, here is what the experts suggest you do.
There are two types of nasality: hyper and hypo. In hyponasality the speaker sounds as if their nose is perpetually stuffed. Causes include: colds, allergies, physical obstructions, etc. In any case if you sound like you always have a cold, it’s wise to see an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT) for an evaluation.
In hypernasality the person sounds as if they are speaking through the nose. If the problem is mild, here are three things you can do:
1. EAR TRAINING: The first step is to learn to hear the difference between nasal and non-nasal sounds. A speech coach or licensed speech pathologist can help you do this.
2. MOUTH OPENING EXERCISES: The voice can sound nasal if the speaker tends to clench the jaw or close the mouth while speaking. A good exercise for loosening the jaw is to speak as if holding an imaginary dime between the top and bottom back teeth. IMPORTANT: DO NOT USE A REAL DIME. You could inadvertently swallow it! It is also helpful to practice sentences that include the “ah” sound, long I, long A and long O vowel sounds.
3. MUSCLE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES: These include practicing lists of words that feature plosive sounds such as P,B,T,D,K and G, and fricatives such as S and SH. You can also strengthen your muscles by blowing a horn, flute or party favor.”
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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit www.greatvoice.com.
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