Singers are often preoccupied with losing or damaging their voice, and rightly so! Whether it is broken, veiled, hoarse, weak or vulnerable to fatigue, changes in the voice often prevent proper singing. Aggravated symptoms can even create more serious consequences such as definitive lesions.
The problem is not trivial and affects a large part of the population: if it didn’t nearly 29% of women and 18% of men would be victims of the occasional hoarseness.
The medical term is dysphonia and refers to an alteration of the spoken voice (and dysody in the case of the sung voice) and should be distinguished from aphonia, a cause that is most often the result of vocal fatigue. When the voice is tired, we tend to force it. When the mucous membranes that usually cover the vocal cords are altered in any way, the voice is prevented from vibrating properly.The most common reasons can be various:
An allergy to pollution causing increased production of mucus
Dryness of air
A noisy place, obliging one to force the voice
An infection (cold or acute laryngitis for example)
A heematoma formed on a vocal cord, from screaming or straining the voice
ENT (ear, nose throat) fragility
Lack of sleep
Change in hormonal balance
Taking certain medications
Gastro reflux which creates chronic inflammations
Arrangements and Remedies
The first thing to do is to consult a doctor, particularly an ENT or speech specialist. They will be the most suited to be able to help, advise and evaluate the causes. Causes can be related to the aforementioned difficulties or to other possible afflictions (pain in ears, neck, etc.). The duration of the problem and the need to schedule further examinations to identify possible polyps or nodules can be determined by these specialists.
Silence is Golden
The first and most effective remedy, to your dismay when you are passionate about singing, is rest. Resting the body is important but equally important, if not more so, is resting the vocal cords. A total silence is appropriate because even whispering can create a certain tiredness. Avoid talking on the phone and stay away from noisy environments.
Humidify Inside and Out
Mentioned prior, a dry atmosphere is not good for one's vocal cords. Here's one way to help: breathe in hot water vapor for ten minutes. Do so by pouring hot water (not boiling) into a bowl. Next, place your head under a towel and add one or two drops of essential oil but be sure to ask advice from an expert practitioner beforehand.
Be sure to drink lots of water (room temperature is recommended!) and avoid hot beverages like tea and coffee.
Sucking on throat lozenges may help to relieve any pain.
In case of reflux, avoid foods that tend to aggravate these conditions: tomatoes, citrus fruits, spices, coffee, tea or alcohol.
Need help with some vocal rehab? Come in for a voice lesson at Pink Couch Academy of Music. We would love to help you with your career goals in music. Give us a call at 972-489-1667 to get started today!