Friday, April 5, 2013

Voice Cracking

Hello, I'm a 20 year old female and for about the last 3 years I've suffered from voice cracking. When it first started my voice would only crack when I was trying to project it (example: having to talk in front of a class, talking in loud restaurants, etc.) But as of the past year and half or so, it cracks all the time, even when I'm not talking extremely loud. It's very embarrassing and I've put off getting help for it for many reasons. One being I'm not sure where to even start, and two, I'm embarrassed to even talk to anyone about it. Please let me know what you think would be best for me. 

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
There could be any number of explanations for your symptoms. The only way to determine the cause and appropriate treatment strategies is to be evaluated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician.

Good luck to you!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Difficult to Sing High

I am 17 years old, and my voice starts doing weird things when I hit a certain note. I can sing without any problems low, but around a C sharp, I have a hard time singing that high and sounds like I am forcing it. I don't have any pain in my throat. It has been doing this for a while. Do you have any idea of what can cause this?   

Joanna Lott, M.A., CCC-SLP replies...
Problems transitioning from low to high is one of the most common voice problems singers encounter. Singing is a tricky balance of air flow, air pressure, and muscular effort. Try to notice if you are pushing a lot with your throat muscles, or if you have a sense of holing your breath as you get higher in pitch. Try gliding through your entire range on lip trills (lip flutters or lip bubbles) or simply through a straw. See if that troublesome area of your voice becomes easier to navigate using these tools. The best thing you can do though, is find a good singing teacher who understands the anatomy and physiology of voice production. A good singing teacher will be able to help you with this issue. Good luck!

Lost Voice

I'm a singer who sings in all chest voice. I lost my voice suddenly and w/o any other illness about five months ago. Since then it has not fully recovered, my singing voice is strained and hard to control, and I can only sing for short spurts before I start to cough and lose my singing voice though I can still speak normally. My range has also suffered. I have to assume I am singing improperly but it's only a guess.

Joanna Lott, M.A., CCC-SLP replies...
Any time you experience a sudden voice loss - especially when you are unable to identify any precipitating or contributing factors - you should be seen at a dedicated voice center for a video stroboscopy. The voice team should include a laryngologist (ENT specializing in voice -- not a general ENT) and a speech language pathologist specializing in voice. The team will work with you to determine the cause of your voice problems and the best next steps to take. If you don't know of a dedicated voice center in your area, you can search for one using our national referral database If you are near our center in Baltimore, we would be happy to see you here. Best of luck!

Voice Change

I had a nasty cough all day and I used cough drops to get rid of it. Then I started singing probably over like 4 songs and then my voice changed. It feels like I'm losing my voice. Is this caused by the coughing and then singing? Why?

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies...
Overuse of the voice, when vocal folds are inflamed and/ or swollen (likely in the setting of persistent or prolonged coughing), does increase the risk of vocal fold damage; conservation of the voice is recommended while the cough remains. If your voice change persists following resolution of the cough, see an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician for an evaluation. 

Best of luck to you!