The ASMR artist, Deni ASMRCZ, recently asked me if whispering is bad for the throat or vocal cords.
A 2006 research article stated, “For years, otolaryngologists and voice therapists have warned voice patients that whispering causes more trauma to the larynx than normal speech. However, no large series of patients has ever been examined fiberoptically during whispering to test this hypothesis.”
In 2011, The New York Times asked Dr. Robert T. Sataloff, chairman of the otolaryngology department at Drexel University College of Medicine why clinicians recommend that patients avoid whispering. He said this recommendation was based on “years of pronouncement and almost no research, like so much in medicine.”
Even when searching for more recent research publications, there doesn’t seem to be any research studies which clearly answer this question yet, but there are personal experiences, clinical opinions, and physiological studies.
I’ll cover all three of these types of sources.
Let’s begin in 2009 with the first ASMR artist, WhisperingLife. She mentioned in some of her videos that whispering sometimes hurt her voice. This may have been one of the reasons her videos were relatively short and averaged about 10 minutes long.
Jump forward to 2019. I’ve created over 200 podcast episodes for the Sleep Whispers podcast of pure whispering, with an average length of 40 minutes each and a max length of 90 minutes. I’ve never felt any discomfort in my throat or voice, but I do often feel like I am running out of breath.
So these two simple and personal examples highlight that whispering may create different types of discomfort for different individuals.
Let’s see what further evidence I can uncover for the effect of whispering on the throat and vocals.