Voice strain. (Letters).
I was pleased to see the article on vocal strain (Health and Fitness, February). Two years ago, I was treated for vocal nodules after nearly a decade in the classroom.
The specialist who treated me said vocal nodules are a very common malady for teachers, who daily project their voice and often "work through" a sore throat or cold, further irritating the vocal cords.
My school district was quick to respond, installing a wireless voice amplification system in my room.
Parents were also very supportive, bringing me articles about studies that showed improved student performance in classrooms where voice amplification was used.
The day when voice amplification is standard classroom equipment is still far away. Until then, inexpensive amplification systems can be purchased at an electronics store.
NEA has long strived to give teachers a voice. Now, it can be said that you help to preserve their voices as well.
Rebecca Foxworth Tracy, California
As a fourth grade teacher and a vocal musician in my church (90-minute rehearsals on Tuesday evenings!), my voice takes the same kind of beating that so many of us endure.
I do feel, though, that you omitted an important aspect of vocal health: proper vocal health habits. In "Vocal Aerobics," a tape series designed for church musicians (available from www.maranathamusic.com), Steve Bowersox likens the singer to an athlete.
He admonishes those who use their' voices extensively to practice such good habits as coughing lightly and swallowing instead of repetitively clearing the throat, drinking plenty of water at room temperature (rather than cold water), and humming or using an "M" or "mom" sound to sing scales.
Just by adopting these few ideas (I warm up on my 15-minute drive to work), I have avoided hoarseness, and I have better resonance and endurance throughout my week.
Daniel Bell Richland, Washington