If you have problems speaking, you aren't alone: approximately 7.5 million Americans have some kind of problem using their voice. While you should really talk to a speech pathologist, such as Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head, for a serious problem, there are plenty of home exercises you can perform to improve your speaking voice.
If your speaking voice lacks strength and clarity, this simple exercise routine should strengthen the muscles in your mouth and throat and help your voice ring out more clearly. Repeat the following vocal exercises until you feel comfortable with your voice:
- Inhale and exhale five times as deeply as possible
- Make a hissing sound 10 times
- Repeat the phrase "mm-mmm" five times
- Say "mmmmmmmmm" with increasing volume and pitch
- Chant "ney, ney, ney" 10 times with increasing volume and pitch
- Make a siren sound 10 times with increasing volume and pitch
- Repeat your introductory breaths
When performed properly, this exercise should take you no more than five or 10 minutes.
Word slurring might not seem like a serious problem, but it can make a person seem less intelligent. The best way to eliminate slurring is to increase diction accuracy and enunciation with tongue twisters.
Try out these common (and difficult) tongue twisters to eliminate your slurring:
- Susie sells sea shells by the sea shore.
- He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
- Bigger business isn't better business, but better business brings bigger rewards.
- Time takes a terrible toll on intentions.
Once you master these tantalizing tongue twisters, try to twirl your tongue around your own tongue twisters.
Stuttering is a difficult problem to fix because it has no singular cause. Some people simply can't help but trip over their own tongue. The best exercise for stuttering involves slowing down your speech and identifying which words or phrases cause you to stutter.
Speak those problematic words and phrases into the mirror, speaking as slowly as possible. Repeat them over and over and gradually increase your speed. Eventually, you should start to eliminate some stuttering.
Lisps are a common problem in young children, but they can sometimes last into adulthood. Thankfully, the cause of a lisp is usually always the same: the positioning of the tongue in the mouth. If the tongue is held too high and close to the teeth when speaking, it can press against the teeth and cause the "S" sound of the lisp.
Eliminate a lisp by watching how you speak in the mirror. Keep your mouth wide open and consciously try to move your tongue into proper position. Once you're away from the mirror, work to keep your tongue out of the way. It may take awhile, but you should be able to eliminate your lisp using this method.
Most speech problems should be easily fixed by these simple exercises. However, if you or someone you love continues to struggle with speaking, there are procedures and surgeries which can help clear up those problems in no time.