• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: What happens when you vocal fry?

August 1, 2017

Pop culture's societal impact is significant. It influences how some people dress and even how they speak. Vocal fry is a way of using the lowest register of your voice, and it's popular, especially for teens girls and young women. Mayo Clinic's Dr. David Lott says using vocal fry regularly may be bad for your voice.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads. Read the script.

Vocal fry is in the news. It’s a popular way of talking that uses your lower register. Some people think it’s cool. But after a while vocal fry might damage your vocal cords.

“It's such a part of our culture at this point that we can go into vocal fry without recognizing it.”

Dr. David Lott says vocal fry is the lowest register of your voice.

“Theoretically, the problem with using vocal fry is that you squeeze the back part of your vocal folds tightly, and the vocal folds themselves are really loose. And, so, instead of having a nice, fluid motion when the vocal folds vibrate, they’re vibrating chaotically. And the vocal folds aren’t really designed to do that for long periods of time. So the more chaotic the vocal folds vibrate, the more likely you are to develop nodules or scars.”

It’s like any overuse injury, such as tennis elbow.

“Anytime you go out of that designed area and you live in the extremes for an extended period of time … theoretically you can have problems.”

The good news is that most people can stop using vocal fry just by being aware of it. And if your vocal folds are damaged, there are therapy and treatments to help.

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