Teachers as a group are prone to afflictions of the throat (in common with singers, politicians) because of excessive use of their voice. In this article let us discuss how we can minimise, and in some cases, entirely eliminate these problems.
First and foremost is how loudly we generally speak to be heard. As a culture, we are loud, even when we talk amongst ourselves, across a dining table, in a park or at a function. The louder we speak, the more strain we put on our vocal cords. It should just be loud enough to be heard by our audience. We all speak louder when we want to stress on something we are saying, when having an argument, or when we are angry. That apart, we should make it a point to speak softly.
In our country, especially in the cities, ambient pollution levels are very high. If we add to that by the use of incense sticks, ‘samrani’, mosquito coils, etc. at home, we are adding to indoor home pollution. All forms of smoke are irritants of the respiratory system (including passive smoking from cigarettes) and should be avoided at all cost.
Viral infections of the respiratory system are very common and usually require simple symptomatic treatment. They are also highly contagious and can easily spread from one person to the other by coughing and sneezing. It is necessary to avoid attending school or college, especially if a person also has fever at the same time. Gargling with salt water is known to prevent viral infections if done twice a day, every day.
Laryngitis, which is inflammation of the vocal cords, is another occupational hazard of teachers. It can follow a viral infection or can occur by itself on exposure to smoke. The voice becomes hoarse and needs to be rested for it to recover. Steam inhalation for 5 minutes, 3-4 times a day, helps recover faster. Just like gargling, steam inhalation twice a day every day also helps prevent laryngitis.