Friday, July 12, 2013

Can't Hit High Notes - 2 1/2 Years After Tonsil Removal

About 2 1/2 years ago I had my tonsils removed and my uvula reduced and before my surgery I asked my doctor if the surgery would affect my singing voice. My doctor said it was unlikely and if there was an effect it would return to normal in due time. Since the removal of my tonsils I can't hit the semi high notes at all, which I could do easily. I can't even whistle ANYMORE! My voice has been noticeably lower and this has severely hindered my attempts at getting singing opportunities I have been told what happened to your voice or You used to be able to hit that note. Is there any damage that could have possibly occurred? Is there some way to get back the ability I used to have because when I attempt to sing a higher note or register it sounds like I am hissing and there is virtually no sound at all. I can literally try to sing high and scream notes but I will absolutely be blue in my face and no sound but just air and me straining is the result. No I have not returned to the ENT who did my surgery which I know be step one but I also would like to know any other alternatives or help you can suggest in addition to seeing my ENT again. Thank you in advance!

Melissa Kim M.S., CCC-SLP replies... 

Tonsillectomy and palatal surgery can result in altered resonance, although this wouldn't typically affect pitch range. Placement of an endotracheal tube during the surgery may, in some cases, affect the vibratory behavior of the vocal folds secondary to scar, lesion, etc., but I would assume that something like this would have already been seen on examination with your ENT given that your surgery was more than two years ago. I can only suggest that you seek out a second opinion as to the cause of your vocal difficulties; I would specifically suggest that you see a laryngologist (an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician with specialty training in the treatment of voice disorders). Ask your physician for a referral or see to search for an ENT by sub-specialty. 

 Best of luck to you!

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