Suprahyoid Muscles: Tight Muscles Under Chin

Suprahyoid Muscles: Tight Muscles Under Chin

What the heck are suprahyoid muscles and how
do they affect our voice? If you have tight muscles under your chin
or if you experience tension when speaking or singing, then you want to watch this video
because I am going to tell you what suprahyoid muscles are, how you can tell if they are
tight and how to release tension from this area. Hi! I am Katarina, speech language pathologist
from How 2 Improve Singing and here on this channel, I share practical tips about using
your voice in a healthy way. So, if this is a topic that interests you,
consider subscribing to this channel and hitting that bell notification icon so that you don’t
miss any of my videos. What are suprahyoid muscles? As the name says, supra means above and hyoid
is the name of a U-shaped bone in our neck under the chin. So, suprahyoid muscles are muscles, which
are above the hyoid bone. So, these are the muscles that you find under
your chin in this small area. These are relatively small muscles but they
can cause a lot of trouble when speaking or singing. They can also cause pain when swallowing or
even mimic pain in the tongue or teeth. Very often tight suprahyoid muscles can be
mistaken for swollen lymph nodes. There are four suprahyoid muscles: the digastric,
mylohyoid, stylohyoid, and geniohyoid muscles. I know, strange names but these names tell
us where the muscles originate and where they are attached. All four muscles attach to the hyoid bone. The digastric, mylohyoid and geniohyoid muscles
originate on the inside of the lower jaw. The stylohyoid muscle originates on a bony
structure behind your ear called the styloid process and runs down to the hyoid bone. Because these muscles are above the hyoid
bone, when they contract, they move the hyoid bone upward. Why do we care? Well, when we swallow, these muscles are active
and make sure that the food is going down the right way. However, when we speak or sing, we don’t
want these muscles engage unnecessarily because they can affect our voice and cause tension. Here is why. The hyoid bone is the only bone in a human
body that is not attached to any other bone. Our larynx is suspended from the hyoid bone,
like a basket from an air balloon. If the hyoid bone moves up, the larynx moves
up too. Now, you can imagine that if the suprahyoid
muscles are strained, contracted or have to work overtime, the hyoid bone is permanently
elevated, which means that the larynx is also elevated. And you may be aware of the fact that the
position of the larynx directly affects voice quality. As I said before, the suprahyoid muscles participate
in swallowing. That’s how we are going to find them and
assess if they are tight. Place your hand or your thumbs under the chin
and swallow. You will feel muscle movement under your chin. You will feel how these muscles engage; they
sort of bulge out a little bit when you swallow. But you should not feel any discomfort, pain
or soreness when you do this. Now, keep your hand or fingers under your
chin and hum a short song or a short scale. This time, you should not be feeling anything:
any movement, any bulging out, any muscle engagement. You should not feel any movement or muscle engagement even when you sing a short scale on a single vowel. Try that. Hold your hand under the chin and sing on a single vowel. When we produce sound during humming, only
the intrinsic laryngeal muscles are working. You don’t need any of these muscles under
your chin when you change pitch or sustain a sound. So, if you feel movement, engagement or even
discomfort or pain when you hum, you know that your suprahyoid muscles are working overtime. You will feel muscle engagement during normal
speech or when singing a song. Suprahyoid muscles are engaged during articulation. So, there will be slight movement under the
chin but again, there should be no stiffness, tightness, excessive movement, soreness, strain
or pain. The muscles under my chin are still soft and
supple when I talk or sing. So, how do we release tension from the muscles
under the chin? Let’s give these muscles a gentle massage
and see if your voice changes or if singing or speaking becomes easier. But first, I want you to either count from
1 to 10 or sing a short song. Pause the video and do it, I will be waiting
here. Done? Good. Did you feel any tension? How would you rate ease of voice production? How clear is your voice? How loud is it? How resonant is it? Remember your findings because we will compare
it to your voice after the massage. By the way, if you want to learn more about
vocal massage, click this link here or the link under the video. With your thumbs, massage the origin of these
muscles on the inner side of the lower jaw bone. Just press lightly along the lower jaw, on
the inside. Do not clench your teeth. Do this for a few seconds. Now, gently massage the origin of the stylohyoid
muscles on the bony structures behind your ears. Use your fingers and apply gentle pressure. Now, place your thumbs under the chin. Apply gentle pressure and move your fingers
from the chin towards the hyoid bone. Keep your head straight. Breathe normally and massage for several seconds. Now, locate the hyoid bone. It sits right under your chin and it moves
up when you swallow. With your fingers, massage the place where
the muscles insert on the hyoid bone. The movements with your fingers are very small
because the muscles are small. And the massage takes a few seconds. Lastly, we are going to stretch the fascia
under the chin. Place one hand on your neck, very gently;
no pushing. Move your head slightly back so that you stretch
the muscles under the chin. Gently stretch the muscles by moving your
fingers from the hyoid bone towards the chin in a slow and steady pull. Don’t push, gently stretch. Continue for several seconds. So, how did it feel? How is your voice now? It’s time to reassess your voice. Count from 1 to 10 or sing a short song. Any changes in your voice? How about tension? How would you rate ease of voice production? How clear is your voice now? How loud is it? How resonant is it? Let me know in the comments below. And that is all for today. Next week, I will be talking about jaw tension,
so stay tuned or even better subscribe to my channel so that you don’t miss this video. If you found this video helpful, share it
with your friends who may benefit from this information. Also check out my other videos right here
below. Thank you and I will see you in my next video. Bye. Bye.

4 thoughts on “Suprahyoid Muscles: Tight Muscles Under Chin

  1. This is really great… i beat myself up by struggling with sensory awareness eg i cannot usually assess a change before and after doing something like this… i should have recorded myself..i was thrilled, as i felt a clear ease at the top of the scale i did, on G4.. where my voice usually feels tight.. and also the under chin muscles.. this is a big win! i shall keep it in my routine.
    Thank you

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