Each winter, I suffer from a cold or two, and just occasionally this results in me losing my voice for a week or so. It’s that time again, and here I am struck mute. I am still able to, but really should not, whisper, so I limit my verbal communication to a minimum. And even though I am used to this situation by now (having experienced it several times during the last 15 or so years), I still feel weird.
On the positive side, it is amazing how much you can convey without actually speaking. Mouthing the words and smiling will do for saying hello and for most shopping. Using your hands and fingers will help, too.
And I have taken to whistling, which is not rude if you do with family members who know why you do it, and it definitely beats climbing two sets of stairs whenever you want to catch someone’s attention. (For when you are annoyed, there are several loud and rude noises you can create just with your lips and tongue. I do that while watching soccer matches. Takes me back to being a five-year-old.)
I also carry a little notepad with me if I want to say something more complicated, but it can be frustrating to scribble like mad and listen to the conversation passing on to the next topic simultaneously.
Now you might think this would be a perfect time to catch up with writing all those emails … think again! I crave spoken communication. I want to listen to real people talking. The emails will have to wait another week, I’m afraid.
To ease the silence, I have started to listen to music much more than I usually do. That’s definitely a positive side effect!
At least losing my voice means I can recover and rest, as I can’t work without it, and am on sick leave. (Now desk work at home, I can do that, and do it, but it’s definitely less strenous than actual teaching.)
Have you ever lost your voice, and how was the experience for you?
- Rike Horstmann