You need only be exposed once to someone who has had a laryngectomy to understand how important it is to be able to speak. While it is certainly better than dying from laryngeal cancer, it is a terrible loss and staying alive becomes much harder. Since the larynx is responsible for keeping the lungs protected by the action of the vocal folds and the epiglottis directing food and drink past the lungs into the esophagus, and for the vocal folds being able to close so one can run, walk up stairs, and lift heavy objects, amongst other things, not being able to speak is only one of the things that has to be confronted when the larynx is compromised or removed.
Even severe laryngitis can be uncomfortable if it continues past a few days. Having to whisper or be very raspy can interfere with being heard and understood. If it lingers, only a few of us can manage easily in that situation .
Yet, truly, who gives thanks for this vital part of the body on a regular basis? On a day given to gratitude, does anyone think to be grateful for the ability to make vocal sound? And, if you sing, you may not realize that your entire career depends on two tiny pieces of gristle, not longer than your last joint on your pinky finger and much smaller than that in size. You may not understand that all your notes, for your entire life, depend upon the function of your vocal folds in response to your decision to sustain pitches in music. And, yes, it is possible to continue to have the ability to speak but lose the ability to sing. Julie Andrews is possibly the most famous example of such a person, but it can happen to anyone. Singing demands more of the vocal folds than typical conservational speech and you can discover this, sadly, when they no longer do what they once did easily, and there is no help to be had that will heal the problem completely no matter what medical expert treats it.
Those who deliberately teach singers to scream without any regard for vocal health, or who teach singers to deliberately manipulate the internal structures of the throat and larynx, are doing a terrible disservice to both body and voice, yet there are many who teach in this way. That the profession of singing teaching at large does not object to such instruction but, in fact, often embraces it wholeheartedly, is a disgrace, but this, too, is a fact.
Those who teach singing are not required to adhere to any tenets by outside objective experts. If you tell a young or inexperienced singer to squeeze the aryepiglottic sphincter (if you can locate it in the throat) or to retract the false folds (ditto), or to curb the vocal folds (as if they were a puppy) or to tilt the cricoid cartilage (which doesn’t move volitionally at all), or to sit on the back of the tongue and the jaw to prevent the larynx from moving up when that is part of its natural function, and if you then expect the student to both understand and comply with any of these instructions, only to find that they struggle, you must ask yourself why you would continue to teach in this manner. Why?
Why not just help your throat do what throats do? The structures in the throat, all of them, need to be free to move. (Singing freely requires no such deliberate maneuvers or restrictions.) Instead, why not be grateful that you can sing whatever you want and however you want by respecting the way the body is designed to function so that both can remain in excellent shape for your entire life?
Please be grateful for your voice in all of its many expressions from your first lusty cry as a newborn until you exhale your last breath. Do not wait until it is lost or impaired in order to be thankful for what you already have. Give thanks every day, starting right now.