Navigating a Voice Disorder while Socializing
Like other physical characteristics our voices help identify us. The sound of our voice influences how other people perceive us — possibly even more than the words we actually say. Loss of your “before” voice can deflate your overall subjective emotional evaluation of your own worth and cause you to judge yourself harshly. Well-meaning family, co-workers and social situations can make it more difficult.
“Our voice is our ambassador to the rest of the world,” says Dr. Norman Hogikyan, director of the University of Michigan Health System Vocal Health Center. For people with voice disorders, a part of their identity is changed. The weak voice can be unfairly associated with emotional sensitivity, a lack of confidence, lower intelligence, and sometimes, physical illness. That’s why social situations can be so stressful to someone with a voice disorder. But it is important to stay engaged with family and friends and not allow this condition to change who you are.
We asked the experts—those living with a voice condition—for their best advice on socializing. Below are some of the top responses and you can download even more on the sidebar. Do not let this limit you. You have so much to share.