I have a habit that lots of friends find peculiar and that’s either stuffing my earplugs in my ears constantly or without earplugs- blocking my ears with little rolled up tissues. 

Why?  

Fear of the Lombard effect and its impact on my voice health and voice projection capacity.

The Lombard Effect is an increase in voice volume in direct response to higher background noise, as well as other “dynamic vocal changes in response to real time changes in the perception and production of your voice (Zollinger & Brumm, 2011)” 

You’re in a noisy bar or chatting at a wedding reception. The background noise is unbearable, and it’s impossible to hear yourself speak. So what do you do?

Raise your volume and move your mouth muscles more intentionally to not only help your conversation partner hear you but also to hear yourself. 

You have no apparent control over this effect. When in high noise environments, your cortex fires this response which makes you speak louder and with more vocal effort. 

But we all know the outcome of speaking with noise pollution.

You leave the club, and wow! Your voice, right? It may feel rough, sore, or sound incredibly hoarse. It’s disappointing and hardly needs to be said that you’ve abused your voice.

Avoid noise pollution, if you can

Limit or avoid spending time in noisy environments. If you need to project your voice extensively due to background noise, you’re going to get voice fatigue. There’s no way around it. New research confirms that noise pollution will cause you to misuse your voice. 

So today, I want to provide you with a few strategies to monitor your vocal health when exposed to noise pollution.

If you can’t avoid noise pollution, watch this tutorial for more voice projection tips to protect your precious voice. 

sara geiger

Are you spending time speaking in noisy environments?

Let me know in the comments below how this is affecting your voice, and feel free to ask me any questions you have about your voice care.

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REFERENCES

Toki, E. & Fakitsa, P. & Plachouras, K. & Vlachopoulos, K. & Kalaitzidis, N. & Pange, J. (2021). How does noise pollution exposure affect vocal behavior? A systematic review. AIMS Medical Science. 8. 116-137. 10.3934/medsci.2021012. 

Zollinger, S.A, & Brumm, H. (2011). The Lombard Effect. Curr. biol. 21: R614-R615