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A word of warning to our new President.

President Clinton's chronic hoarseness will worsen unless he changes his speaking style, warns an expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Celia Routh Hooper, director of the speech and hearing clinic at the medical school, has measured Clinton's voice with Visi-Pitch, a device that notes the different characteristics of sound a person creates. Clinton battled sore vocal cords throughout the campaign. "He shoots his pitch too high because he's trying to talk over the roughness," says Dr. Hooper. Pitch is the high or low sound a person hears in speech. "When people try to get louder, they have a higher-sounding pitch."

Combined with Clinton's allergies and the stress of the presidency, "you have the ingredients for an extreme case of voice abuse," she adds. She believes that Americans want a leader with a clear voice during critical events. If the President's voice cracks or sounds hoarse when he's called upon to address a pressing domestic or international crisis, we tend to get nervous, says Dr. Hooper.

Persons whose jobs require much public speaking should be careful about abusing their voices. In such ordinary activities as teaching or conducting a meeting, surges of adrenaline can dry out mucous membranes, causing dry vocal cords to rub together and become irritated. Chronic irritation can lead to small ulcerations on the vocal cords, as well as to nodules or calluses, all of which can lead to loss of voice.

Those susceptible to voice problems should avoid constantly shouting above the noise, speaking in smoke-filled rooms, or talking with a cold or flu. Those who travel frequently by air should counter the dry air of an airplane by drinking plenty of nonalcoholic liquids in flight and sucking on sugar-free lozenges.

Voice, like hearing, is a precious commodity, and avoiding voice abuse is as important as avoiding other kinds of physical abuse that busy folks often inflict upon themselves.
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Title Annotation:Bill Clinton
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:317
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