Do all the screen time and lack of social interaction cause me to lose the ability to speak?


While I have never identified myself as a particularly cheerful or talkative person, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, I have practically stopped using my voice. Except for the mandatory updates during morning business meetings and the 15 minute chat session with my mom during lunch breaks – most of the time I don’t speak much at all. I also have the average millennial aversion to phone calls, shrinking back in mild anxiety whenever a known number hijacks my screen, as I am then forced to clear my throat and smooth my voice before I am. ready to introduce myself to the outside world. Add to that the proliferation of virtual workspaces and social media communities, and there are days when I can get my thoughts across a GIF better than just any word. As my voice begins to seem like an increasingly redundant tool, and the infamous “locking blah,” or “languishing” – as the popular lexicon says – creeps into me simultaneously, I wonder about the correlation between the active use of his speech and his mental state of being.

“The evolutionary importance of the voice is very important because it is a vehicle of emotion, expression, connection, communication and definition of limits. Using the voice helped our ancestors to call for help, to warn others of danger, to find partners, to comfort the young, to transmit solidarity and to create relationships. The unconscious manifests itself in speech. In therapeutic contexts, I am attentive to the paralinguistic changes of my clients by observing the tone, pitch, delivery and speed of their voice to understand their psycho-emotional state ”, explains Sonera Jhaveri, somatic psychotherapist based in Mumbai.

While memes and texting replace water cooler chats and chai breaks with my coworkers, Netflix watch parties replace date plans, and Tika Iggy’s voice sounds more familiar to me. my ears than mine, there is also an insidious and bewildering feeling in my body that I cannot ignore. Much like the nostalgia for manual dexterity brought on by the sudden switch from pens to keyboard during my early college years, the switch from speaking to typing caused me to miss the visceral act of using my voice.

Jhaveri affirms my need. “Humans are mammals that have co-evolved with other humans and animals and need contact, mirror, communication and interaction,” she says. “Due to technological changes in our material culture from analog to digital as well as pandemic protocols of masking, social distancing, locking, etc., the existential skills to connect with one’s body, other humans and the world natural decrease. “

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