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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/819

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CARE OF THE THROAT AND EAR.

gerous. Occasionally ladies inhale the smoke of a closed room where the male members of the household are smoking, and this is injurious to a delicate throat.

Loud and excessive talking is sometimes a factor in throat diseases. The former is more apt to be exercised in transit in our steam or electric cars, and members of the theatrical profession realize this so well that they rarely use their voice while traveling. In excessive talking, in addition to the mechanical wear and tear of the throat, the respiration is usually spasmodic, a combination that is likely to lead to evil results. At puberty, when the voices of boys and girls are changing, the former sometimes almost an octave and the latter usually a note or two, special care should be taken of the voice, and singing or vocal exercises should be discontinued until the change has been finally established.

The effect of singing on the throat is of much interest, but it is one of such an extensive character that it can be only casually referred to here. The exercise required in singing improves the healthy throat in the same manner that exercise benefits the body in general. The diseased throat, however, may be injured by this practice, as no form of vocal culture can remedy a mechanical interference in its action. The method of singing is also of the utmost importance; an erroneous one may not only injure a promising voice, but may also have a bad effect on a normal throat. The subject of register requires careful consideration. The placing of the voice in the wrong register is fruitful of evil; the ambition of the singer to reach a few notes higher or lower than her range may also work severe injury to the throat.

The throat may be improved or strengthened by any of the forms of exercise, especially the out-of-door, which have been advised for the health in general. In addition to this, breathing exercises are of special value. These consist of taking deep inhalations through the nose, holding the breath for a few seconds and then gently expiring it, the body in the meanwhile being free from all restraint from tight clothing. The practice of this exercise for five minutes mornings and evenings will have a remarkable effect in developing the chest and throat.

In order to anticipate serious complications, children should be taught to allow their mothers to examine their throats freely and without resistance. I feel especially the importance of this subject, as I have frequently seen children almost sacrificed on account of the nervous dread of having their throats examined, or by their inability to control themselves. The method is exceedingly simple: the child is placed facing a bright window, and the handle of a spoon placed on the tongue and so depressed that the posterior part of the