The voice industry covers vocal health, singing, voiceover, public speaking and how we use our voices to effectively communicate. The human voice is one of the primary communication instruments for people throughout the world. No matter how the voice is heard, through technology, spoken, sung, chanted or whispered, human beings continue to use the voice to express thoughts, emotions and desires. Other forms of communication have radically changed the way we communicate. The use of email, texting, social media, and AI voice technology are allowing us to use our voices less often. In addition, few human beings, with the exception of actors and trained singers, think about vocal hygiene and keeping their voices safe and protected throughout their lives. People can and do cause permanent damage to their vocal cords, also known as folds, without even knowing they are doing so. The human voice is an important part of all cultures and throughout the world we find the human voice is a window to the soul. My industry fact sheet explores this and other elements within the industry to serve the media, students, and others looking for more information.
- Whether you use it or not, vocal fry is a pattern of voice use that does not cause harm to your voice. However, if you’re not satisfied with your voice, a speech-language pathologist can help improve its quality. These methods train you to produce a stronger, more powerful voice. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/is-vocal-fry-ruining-my-voice
- What should I drink to have a good voice? Warm herbal tea. While caffeine does nothing good for your voice, decaf tea is wonderful for it. Herbal teas that are naturally decaffeinated work like a little sauna in your throat to get your vocal chords all comfortable and warm. https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/foods-for-voice
- In laryngitis, your vocal cords become inflamed or irritated. This swelling causes distortion of the sounds produced by air passing over them. As a result, your voice sounds hoarse. In some cases of laryngitis, your voice can become almost undetectable. Some self-care methods may relieve and reduce strain on your voice:
- Breathe moist air. Use a humidifier to keep the air throughout your home or office moist. Inhale steam from a bowl of hot water or a hot shower.
- Rest your voice as much as possible. Avoid talking or singing too loudly or for too long. If you need to speak before large groups, try to use a microphone or megaphone.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Moisten your throat. Try sucking on lozenges, gargling with salt water or chewing a piece of gum.
- Stop drinking alcohol and smoking, and avoid exposure to smoke. Alcohol and smoke dry your throat and irritates your vocal cords.
- Avoid clearing your throat. This action irritates your vocal cords.
- Avoid decongestants. These medications can dry out your throat.
- Avoid whispering. This puts even more strain on your voice than normal speech does.
- Can acid reflux damage vocal cords? The theory is that there is some reflux of stomach acid into the throat, which irritates the already irritated vocal cords. If the acid reflux continues, the damage to the vocal cords will progress. The amount of acid reflux required to cause this is very small. https://www.aboutgerd.org/laryngeal-pharyngeal-reflux.html
- Transgender voice and singing. There are a few things to consider to keep the voice safe. Forcing the sound causes damage. Training with placement will help. https://www.nats.org/Vocal_Wellness_-_April_2018.html
- Video game performances may be permanently damaging actors’ voices. In a letter sent to the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, SAG-AFTRA said that long hours, coupled with the need to record loud and strenuous noises such as violent screaming and inhuman voices, were damaging the vocal cords of its members. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sag-aftra-video-games-investigation-20160607-snap-story.html
- Different languages are gaining ground, but English is still the most popular language for voiceover. https://www.debbiegrattan.com/blog/voice-actors-voice-talent-seekers-trends/
- For voice actors, making an emotional connection is top priority. https://www.walshvoiceovercoaching.com/truetell
- The actual age of voice artists doesn’t matter, as long as they can tailor their voice to align with the age group being targeted. And the vast majority of clients are targeting audiences in the Gen X and millennial generations. https://www.debbiegrattan.com/blog/voice-actors-voice-talent-seekers-trends/
- Chances are, if you make videos — especially how-to and explainer videos – you will need to record voice overs. In fact, depending on how many videos you create, you may have to do a lot of voice over work. It is more work than you think. https://www.techsmith.com/blog/voice-over/
- Working from home is the new reality in voiceover, here are ideas on being an audio book narrator and more https://realwaystoearnmoneyonline.com/how-to-become-an-audiobook-narrator/
- What skills do I need to be a singer? There are no postsecondary education requirements for musicians or singers interested in performing popular music. However, many performers of classical music and opera have at least a bachelor’s degree. All singers need training to keep their voices safe. https://collegegrad.com/careers/musicians-and-singers
- The Birth Process and Voice Training: The Glorious Chorus https://www.vasta.org/vasta-links#health%20&%20science
- Why do we sing and what first drove early humans to sing? How might they have sung and how might those styles have survived to the present day? https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/music/music-performance/history-singing?format=HB&isbn=9780521817059
- Reflections on contemporary commercial singing: an insider’s perspective https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23268263.2013.829711
- Politics and vocal health – why do politicians sound so bad when campaigning? https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/lok-sabha-elections-2019-navjot-sidhus-vocal-cords-damaged-after-80-rallies-in-28-days-2036984
- Practice and Knowing your Topic really helps with fear of public speaking. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/specific-phobias/expert-answers/fear-of-public-speaking/faq-20058416
- Fear of public speaking affects 3 out of 4 people or 75% of individuals that suffer from speech anxiety. It also accounts for 19% and the largest majority of those suffering from some form of phobia out there. https://brandongaille.com/14-fear-public-speaking-statistics/
- Nerves before public speaking is natural. Here are horror stories from folks who lived to speak again. https://www.shopify.com/blog/121468293-public-speaking-tips
- Ted Talks celebrates 10 years of ideas worth spreading. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47737613
Future of AI Voices
There are several industries moving forward, some of the technology we are seeing is in:
- Automotive – Ford was early to voice in 2007 with the launch of Sync, a communications and entertainment system that lets users make phone calls and control music. The company predicts that “nearly 90 percent of all new vehicles will have [voice recognition] onboard by 2022,” according to Forbes.
- Healthcare – Kaléo’s AUVI-Q is an epinephrine auto-injector that features voice instructions for administering the drug to patients experiencing an allergic reaction. One-way communication is the first step; allowing users to talk back could be next. WebMD recently created an Alexa skill that can answer basic health queries by describing treatments for common ailments and listing side effects of drugs.
- Government – The beta version of an Alexa skill developed for the City of Los Angeles offers information about public events, and the city plans to connect 311 services to the skill in the future. Mississippi and Utah are also developing skills for Alexa, and at the federal level, the GSA’s Emerging Citizen Technology program is exploring solutions for making government services available via digital assistants.
- Hospitality – Wynn Las Vegas has installed Echo devices in each room, letting hotel guests use voice commands to turn on lights, set the temperature, and listen to music. Marriott and Four Seasons properties are also testing Alexa and Siri in guest rooms. Eventually, hotels hope to use voice to power concierge-level services like requesting extra towels or ordering room service.
- Finance – Capital One has developed apps for Alexa and Cortana, and British bank Santander lets customers make payments via voice in its iPhone app. UBS wealth-management clients in Europe can ask Alexa for the chief investment office’s answers to financial and economic questions.
- Artificial voices will take over a portion of the voice over industry. https://www.apnews.com/74783e69bdbb4ac0a0cb1f23ba7ebfea