Does Distance Work Cause You Voice Problems?

Using different video conference platforms has become a part of daily work for many. In addition to meetings also teaching has moved to be held via internet. Also many choirs now practice online.

Quite many have said that their voices tend to get more tired when working via video connection than in regular work setting, or live. Also some choir singers have said that after an online choir rehearsal their voice is completely tired, which almost never happens during regular live choir rehearsals. What is the reason for vocal fatigue brought by distance working and distance rehearsing?

Fake Distance

Video connection (or phone connection) brings another person close, but the brain might understand that they are still far away. This may often lead to adding loudness to the voice unawares both in speaking and singing. If one is not aware that they are in fact making their voice louder, it is possible that the voice use is not as economical as usually, resulting in vocal fatigue. Loudness can be added to the voice in a healthy way but if the loudness is made through straining or pushing, it may lead to trouble.

Voice Ergonomics

Many aspects can disturb voice ergonomics; poor posture, cool breeze (like air conditioning), dry air, impurities, background noise etc. All of these add to the risk of vocal fatigue but are usually easily fixed.

Amount of Vocal Stress

Have distance connections added to the amount of speaking or singing? Are you able to have enough breaks? Sometimes the voice may get tired for using it too much if needed rest is not given. The whole body will benefit if we get out of the chair and away from the computer regularly. This will also give your voice a chance of break.

Acoustics

In what kind of space do you speak or sing during video connection? Does the acoustics of the space support your voice or does it making singing or speaking more difficult? The space of the room may affect how your voice endures more than you would have thought.

Appliances Used

Microphone and headphones are often used when in video connection. Does the microphone work well for your voice or do you have to make your voice louder in order to be heard? Or what kinds of headphones are you using? Do you accidentally make your voice louder in order to hear yourself better? Check that that appliances and settings are suitable for your needs to make sure that singing or speaking via video connection feels natural to you.

Social Pressure

Distance activities have become part of every family member’s life which means that you may not be the only one working distant from your home online. Do you have to speak or sing more quiet so that you won’t disturb others? Are you embarrassed to sing or speak when other people can hear you? These things may also lay your voice open to vocal fatigue.

Observe Yourself And Prevent Prolongation Of Vocal Fatigue

If you want to get rid of vocal fatigue or straining during video meetings, observe yourself:

  • How much time has passed since you noticed the first signs of vocal fatigue? Keep a record of those signs: what situations cause fatigue and in what time do you start noticing the first signs? Can you find an explanation for it in the listing above?
  • Record your regular speaking or singing and then record your voice during a video connection. Compare – can you find any differences between voice use? Do you tend to make your voice louder unconsciously during a video connection?
  • Observe your posture during a video connection. Can you find something that may make voicing more difficult to you?

Occasional vocal fatigue is something almost everyone may experience at some point of their life – yet a prolonged vocal stress and/or fatigue may lead to bigger problems. Therefore it is advisable to intervene voice problems caused by distance connection right away.