Thursday, January 17, 2013

Voice Falling to the Ground

When one has been singing since a child and in their 50's completely loses their singing ability over approximately 2 years~ it is very difficult to live with and the unbelief of people who don't believe I can't sing any more is, almost unbearable. I've been seen by two specialists and had two laryngoscopics taken.(?)Both professionals stated that my throat and vocal organs appear picture-perfect and they assumed I had acid reflux.(Which I do not have). They put me on meds for same, but I became very sick so that ended quickly. It feels to me that when I try to sing that air is escaping for I cannot hold a note long and can't hang onto a tone for long, it will drop off and crack. My singing voice is more of a whisper. I can speak, but cannot shout out loud or project even my speaking voice any more. If I have to yell, my voice just falls off. Do you have any experience with such questions? Singing has been the one thing I was all about...until 2010 and it all came to a halt.

Joanna Lott, M.A., CCC-SLP replies... 

I'm sorry to hear that you are having such difficulties. It is not unusual for vocal folds to begin to atrophy at around your age. When vocal folds atrophy, they become thinner. As they thin, you will have to work harder to get good vocal fold closure, which will make singing feel effortful. This can cause you to use the muscles surrounding your vocal folds to "help" your voice. Unfortunately, this doesn't really help -- instead it only leads to increased tension and vocal fatigue. It sounds like you could benefit from some voice therapy. Do either of the laryngologists you saw have SLP voice therapists on staff? If so, it would be a good idea to work with one of them. They can help you unload the laryngeal strain and tension and even increase your vocal strength and stability. I hope this helps!

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