Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Monday, October 28, 2013

How My Damaged Voice Came Back


Endotracheal tubes are inserted between vocal cords on their way to lungs

I know about vocal damage. I have researched and consulted with voice specialists and doctors about it. And years ago I came close to losing my own voice -- permanently.

At a previous post on this blog with tips about recovering from laryngitis, I get many fearful comments from people worried their injured voice may never come back. So I decided to tell you the story of my own experience with serious vocal damage, and why I am such a believer in the ability of voices to heal.

NOTE: If you experience hoarseness or laryngitis for a length of time (Mayo Clinic suggests two weeks), you should go to a doctor to be assessed for the presence of cancer, spasmodic dysphonia or other serious disease. Don't take chances... get the bottom of any medically treatable underlying cause.  Also, ruling serious illness out can give you the peace of mind to commit totally to your vocal retraining and complete healing.

My Story of Vocal Healing

When my son was born around three decades ago in Memphis, Tn, I had very serious complications. My intestines had adhered, through scar tissue, to my uterus and the act of childbirth pulled my insides apart. They diagnose the cause as undiscovered Crohns' disease. It took three surgeon-angels, three major surgeries, three months in hospital and seven weeks in ICU to get me home, and then about two years and another surgery to physically heal. In the process, I was intubated on a ventilator for days at a time, several times. They told me later they would have done a tracheotomy had they realized I would be on the ventilator that long, but I got better just in time to avoid that procedure. (One less scar!) But the intubation for that long was extremely detrimental to my vocal cords. Some screaming I did for various reasons after they took the tubing out didn't help.  In total, I lost an octave an a half of vocal range.

My brilliant surgeons through the grace and providence of God saved my life. But in the process, it looked like I had lost my voice. After I got the hospital and some healing time behind me, I asked my primary surgeon about my ailing voice. He looked down my throat and told me it was probably from permanent scar tissue on my vocal cords. I was lucky to be alive. But as a professional singer (staff jingle singer, member of nighclub band, background singer on records) looking at the end of my vocal career, I didn't feel lucky at all.

I became determined not to take that diagnosis for the final word. In my short stint in college, I had taken classical voice where I learned to pronounce and sing several of the '24 Italian Art Songs'. I got my book out and began to very lightly attempt some of the songs. Little by little, my head voice began to come back. It took two years, but I got almost all of my previous range back, from "F" below middle "C" to "Bb" just below high "C".  From what I know now, exercising my head voice as opposed to my chest voice was exactly what I needed to do to limber up my stiff and puffy vocal cords and begin to create a middle (mixed) voice again.

About this time, my young family moved from Memphis to Nashville. I began to do studio vocals (session work), but was plagued with respiratory illnesses and had to work very hard for the extreme vocal control necessary for this line of work. I found out that several of the top session singers I worked with went regularly to professional vocal coach Gerald Arthur, so I also became his student. On a side note, I also began seeing alternative health practitioner Liz Flannigan, who changed my diet and got my excessive mucous and digestion issues under control. After all, it's hard to sing with walking pneumonia!

Gerald told me very early on that I needed to 'stop guarding' my voice. I was able to trust him enough to do that, and submit to his vocal exercises without holding back. Little by little, under Gerald's patient guidance and positive support, I was able to gain  back my ease of vocal control and increase my range to 1/2 step higher than I'd ever had! Long story short, about three years later I had a recording deal, a #1 record and an ACM New Female Vocalist Award. A year after that when I opened for Reba at Mud Island in Memphis, one of my surgeons showed up at the show and surprised me with a dozen roses! What a success story for us all!

Now

Years later, my journey led to my own career as vocal coach. I learned more intricately how the voice works, what affects it and how I could unlock others' voices. I found that my personal aquantence with vocal damage helped tremendously with diagnosing vocal injury and strain in my students. From seeing what worked for all kinds of voices, I developed "Power, Path and Performance" vocal training method. Funny thing, working with this method I gained 1& 1/2 steps of vocal range myself that I'd never had. I completely eliminated a vocal break I'd always had. My vocal control is better than ever, and my speaking voice never tires, even when teaching for hours a day. I'm singing live again,http://www.johnandjudyrodman.com/ full band, my husband on drums.. and our little baby has grown into an amazing young man!

I tell you this story to encourage you, dear singers and speakers. Although prevention is always better than treatment, voices are rarely ever damaged beyond repair.  With time and good healing strategies, injured voices can indeed recover. AND -- often in the process of re-training with better vocal technique and health habits, you can end up with a better voice than you ever had before. I know. I did it.

NOTE: If you schedule a surgical procedure and will have to be intubated for it, be sure and tell your anesthesiologist that you are a singer! Sometimes it's an emergency situation, but if possible to let them know beforehand, it can make a big difference in how careful they are when they the insert the thing.

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46 Comments :

  • At October 30, 2013 at 6:51 AM , Anonymous PJ Steelman said...

    Judy, if you have ever talked about this before, I missed it. Thanks so much. I had a problem several years ago when doing a long evening show, I developed this pain that was almost like a knife jabbing me in my throat. After several weeks off, and going back to some real vocal basics, I managed to get past the problems. It was great reading your blog, this evening. Thank you so much...PJ

     
  • At May 5, 2014 at 7:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Enjoyed your article very much. I have been a singer for many years & last year I had to quit, because of having to take care of my sick mother, who died last May 8th & had surgery twice for joint replacement, which both surgeries had tubes down my throat, which did something to my voice, because, now my voice is weaker & I cant reach the hi's & low's, like I used ti\o. I hope after reading your story, it gives me the courage to try to start over again. Wish me luck.JDH

     
  • At May 5, 2014 at 8:25 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    I wish you all the luck in the world... work your voice wisely and you should do very well, JDH!! Please write back to say how you're voice is doing!

     
  • At June 16, 2014 at 11:32 PM , Blogger Jessica C said...

    Thanks for the hope! I recently had a long surgery- I guess compared to what you went through it wasn't too long! But I was intubated for eight hours, and for a week couldn't phonate at all. I'm in no position to sing, but I have been a bit stressed about what will happen when I do because my voice feels tight and I, too, probably used it in unhealthy ways in the past three weeks, from reflexive "yelling," to returning to a full teaching schedule. As a typically neurotic singer, you can understand that my head has gone to the worst possible places. Reading your testimonial puts my mind at ease. Thanks for sharing it!!

     
  • At June 18, 2014 at 7:41 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    You are so welcome, Jessica. Be patient- I did have the thing in for days, not just hours, and it took 2 years to fully recover with the help of my vocal coach and my nutritionist. You might want to look at another one of my blogposts about recovering your voice... copy and past into your browser the following link ... blog.judyrodman.com/2009/02/laryngitis-scare-how-to-get-your-voice.html

     
  • At November 25, 2014 at 11:18 PM , Blogger Becky Brooks said...

    Wow! I didn't know all this about you. Thanks for sharing!

     
  • At November 26, 2014 at 7:39 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Yes, Becky, actually all voices have histories:) xoxo

     
  • At December 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Judy, I'm praying that you're right. I had surgery to remove 2 polyps on my right vocal fold this past April. They were caused by me attempting to sing through laryngitis repeatedly over an extended period of time to the point where one of the folds eventually hemorrhaged. Even then I continued to "push" my voice harder to achieve the same range. Eventually it caught up to me. One night while my band was 3 hours into a 4 hour set of cover songs, I remember the feeling vividly. My voice just broke. Over the course of those 3 hours I felt my larynx swell up to a point where I could barely make enough sound to speak let alone belt a Journey cover. I canceled remaining shows scheduled over the next month, went on complete vocal rest only to find minimal recovery. I went to my otolaryngologist and after being scoped, the damage was revealed.

    I'd been singing for over 14 years now, 2 rock bands, professional musical theater, voice over work, etc. I can't understand how now all of a sudden it just stopped. I did voice therapy for 3 months and only found minimal healing. With minimal change, The ENT suggested voice surgery to remove the scaring on my vocal folds. I went through with it along with the month of no speaking that immediately followed. I gradually started to use my voice again and it seemed that my range had returned. However... I have absolutely no stamina. I was formerly able to belt through 3-4 hours of rock pop songs without a hitch. I get through 3 songs now and my folds swell up so much that it feels like I have 2 rubber tires in my throat. The remaining 2.75 hours of the show I'm in pain, i'm miserable, I'm essentially fighting to simply "make it through".

    My super high belting remains intact, the lower registers and speaking range remain intact. My middle range which is 90% of the stuff I do, is gone. It cracks, turns into whispers, sounds distorted, and feels as though I need to push to get it out. Its been almost 9 months since my surgery. I have no confidence in myself anymore. Something that I loved to do, made me money, and became my identity, is now gone. I'm about to throw in the towel and it depresses the heck out of me. Ive tried voice therapy but they don't seem to want to (or know how to) train me to sing in the range that I need in order to maintain my former repertoire (rock / pop style vocals). When I try to incorporate the "classical" techniques they do show me, it almost seems as if it wears my voice down faster (and makes my neck feel strained).

    I don't know why I wrote this, I guess I'm just looking for a place to vent and your blog was the first to appear on my google search for help. Any insight you could provide would be much appreciated.

    Take Care
    DM

     
  • At December 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Dear Dave... sounds like you feel you have tried everything. .. but I have had such consistent success with strained and damaged voices I strongly suggest you contact me. Use the contact box on my website to email me.

     
  • At January 7, 2015 at 12:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Have read this twice now. Thank God I found it. I am a pro singer in NYC with a vocal fold scar, I found from not being able to access my money notes. I am scared, afraid and flip flop between being ready to relearn how to sing and letting it take the time it takes to do that like you did, and/or thinking I will never sing again. First its great to know I am not alone. And 2nd, can my voice teacher and I pay for a long distance session with you via phone or skype and see if how we are proceeding with my "recovery" is what you did to find your "new' voice? I will copy and paste this note and try to Private message you on Facebook with my email address. Thank you for this story and hope to "meet" you professionally as soon as possible.

     
  • At January 7, 2015 at 9:12 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Anonymous... great; I am messaging you back on FB now...

     
  • At February 14, 2015 at 2:11 AM , Blogger Cheri said...

    Several (many, probably) years ago, I had a surgery to remove a para-thyroid gland that was back-firing. I think they pulled out the larynx and laid it on the table during the surgery (kidding) - but since that surgery, my large (like yours obviously is) range is no longer. The low notes are there, nothing else but snap-crackle-croak. Not being (or desiring to be) a pro singer - I've been trying for years to just forget it.

    But tonight, when I was again trying to sing along with Barbra S. (which used to be my favorite, although I love all kinds of music) - I actually broke down and cried. Decided it didn't matter if nobody else besides my sweetie, my Mom, and my son ever listened anyway, "I" listened, and I love to sing - not croak. Exercise by singing along obviously helps, but a structured exercise plan would really be the ticket.

    Would your $99 package be the thing I should try? I, too, had the classical lessons in college (in OMG 1968) but I don't have any of that wonderful music any more and at kind of a loss as to where to start.

    But, dang it, I am going to start!

     
  • At February 14, 2015 at 6:03 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Cheri... actually, that would be an excellent idea. For damaged voices, it's vital that we use truly great vocal technique... that we not only know what to do but why we should do it. We should use the most efficient breath possible to vibrate our instrument, learn to stop guarding tightly and get our throats open. Yes, I think you will make some big headway with that course. And I'd start to gather songs you want to learn to sing; you obviously have music inside that should come out! If you have further questions, please leave me a message through the 'contact' link on this site, with your email. Thanks!

     
  • At July 15, 2015 at 7:53 AM , Blogger Christian Lo Russo said...

    Hey Judy,

    Thanks for sharing,

    I have just had polyps removed.The voice is healing well and coming along very nicely. However the ENT found scarring on the opposite side, possibly from years of touring and misuse or more likely from the polyps bashing against the other vocal fold.

    I am two months post op and i am noticing i have a great low to mid range, with a lot of flexibility and confidence up to the E flat above middle C. I seem to be struggling with my mix voice and getting that part of my range really soaring again. i am extremely diligent and adamant to make it happen, but i was wondering if you have any suggestions. i would hate for this to be like this forever

    look forward to hearing from you

    Christian

     
  • At July 15, 2015 at 8:04 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Hi Christian. The still-present scarring on your cord may be contributing to your vocal limitation. With time, it may be possible for the scarring to relax and fade. It did with mine. For now, if possible you should invest in some remedial vocal training. Whatever you do, watch your pressure. Don't try to push anything. Doing something the same way will bring the same results. Good luck!

     
  • At July 16, 2015 at 2:36 AM , Blogger Christian Lo Russo said...

    Thanks for replying Judy,

    by 'remedial vocal training' Do you simply mean getting in with my vocal coach and working on strengthening the voice?

     
  • At July 16, 2015 at 7:51 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Remedial training is where you not only strengthen your voice, but also change the techniques that got you into vocal trouble in the first place.

     
  • At August 30, 2015 at 9:26 PM , Blogger The Pagan Scientist said...

    Hi Judy, What a great site for singers! I just signed up for your newsletter. I have had heartburn issues for several years, mostly related to very moderate coffee consumption. Now it seems more like LPR. Not much heartburn but a tight, slightly sore throat much of the time. I don't have coffee on days that I sing, but on other days, I often have just one cup. I've quit for weeks at a time but always slide back into my pattern. Have you known a singer to be so sensitive to coffee? I'm embarrassed that as a professional, I haven't been able to get this under control. My voice sounds okay to others, but this discomfort is bad for my health, I know.Thanks for any advice!

     
  • At August 31, 2015 at 8:22 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Hi ... you know, acid reflux seems to be present in epidemic proportions among people these days. Maybe it was as prevalent before, and it just wasn't diagnosed as much. However, you're right. Any GERD symptoms, especially sneaky ones of LPR, need to be dealt with because they constantly wound tissue. My experience is that by adding enzymes, more veggies and ph balancing foods to my diet including fresh juiced green drinks, I can drink my own cup of coffee without problems. Don't know if you can do the same (everyone's different), but do get to the bottom of your own issue. It can be dangerous not to. Try both medical and alternative practitioners and remedies. Or yes, wean yourself completely off whatever you can't get under control. Good luck!

     
  • At August 31, 2015 at 10:45 AM , Blogger The Pagan Scientist said...

    I think the greater prevalence of GERD is possibly due to more stress in our world (even if we don't overtly feel it!). I have been to both medical and alternative folks. Dr. Ossoff (very nice guy) but basically told me to either stop doing whatever was irritating my throat or take the drugs! I have taken PPIs a little but not for a while. I've done the research and know that drugs are not the answer. DGL licorice has been my best bet and, I believe, has kept my throat from getting too terribly damaged. Otherwise I'm a very fit, youthful 60 yr old - eat very healthy - lots of veggies. But I can always try harder! Today I'm quitting coffee, hopefully til I am completely healed. Thank you so much for your ideas. I really appreciate it!

     
  • At September 3, 2015 at 10:14 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    You're most welcome... thx for your thoughts, PS!

     
  • At November 14, 2015 at 8:08 AM , Blogger James Gross said...

    Thanks for sharing this post.

     
  • At November 14, 2015 at 8:24 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    You are most welcome, James!

     
  • At April 21, 2016 at 12:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Judy, thanks so much for sharing this! It's now 2 weeks to the day since my self-inflicted vocal injury (traumatic situation- don't ask). Your story keeps my hope for a full recovery alive.

    Just did a 1 minute of light vocal sirens, using hum & lip buzz - middle voice is present, and connected to lower voice, with no harshness... thank you, Jesus!

    Got an appointment with a specialist in almost two weeks; calling daily to get seen sooner. Paranoid about talking stil, so I'm using a voice app on my tablet. Taking everything slowly & super-carefully.

    I appreciate your blog, and will consider working by Skype, pending what the doc finds.

    Eric

     
  • At April 21, 2016 at 3:46 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    So very happy for you!! And yes, let me know if you'd like a lesson. Take care and thank you for the kind words!

     
  • At April 29, 2016 at 4:36 PM , OpenID ericb85 said...

    Well, I gave in to temptation last Sunday and sang - so not smart. Although it felt strange, pitch was fine, and falsetto showed up with no strain. I had significant follow-on swelling, however, with sense of rigidity, folds said 'we ain't playing!'. Crazy-making set back!

    My emotions have been as shocked as my voice, to sure. With voice rest (and acetaminophen), I feel progressively less swelling. Fellow singers: please fight the dangerous temptation to 'look under the hood' - it's not worth putting recovery at more risk!

    Julie, what advice do you have on herbals like nettle, licorice, and ginger?

     
  • At April 29, 2016 at 6:20 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Whose Julie? :)
    Yes, good advice to use caution as to when to resume singing.
    Use what makes your throat feel better, Eric. I use ginger root tea, but mostly I use diluted pineapple juice in performance.

     
  • At April 30, 2016 at 11:30 AM , OpenID ericb85 said...

    Hi, Judy (sorry - mind coming back online!)

    Swelling considerably reduced now - over 4 hours into a 500 mg dose of the acetaminophen, feeling pretty good. Think there's a prominent node in there - I have swallowing 'click' and gently cough mucous off of it occasionally. Always more obvious by evening.

    Does that sound like your experience? I promise not to virtually blog my recovery here.

     
  • At April 30, 2016 at 11:38 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Eric... no that's not my experience. I just had very limited range, and really didn't have the funds at the time to get checked out at a vocal clinic. Hopefully you can.

     
  • At May 4, 2016 at 11:04 AM , Anonymous PB said...

    Hi Judy,

    I am a singer and do have a concert within 1.5 months. I came down with flu 3 weeks back and had lost my voice. Now at the 3rd week I have got most of it back and can reach high notes too. But the clarity of the voice doesn't seem to have recovered yet? I can hear a husky undertone which I am not liking. Again, I do not sing rock but more melodic songs. I know people suggest to keep resting but not sure how to optimize between rest and practice. Can you please suggest any regime that should strengthen and help to recover.

     
  • At May 4, 2016 at 9:15 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    PB...obviously your vocal cords sustained some impressive inflammation in your upper respiratory flu. There has been a very nasty strain of that bug going around. By now, if you pull back pressure on any vocal exercises and singing that you do, and if you also are careful not to lean on your speaking voice, you should be able to start using your voice. Here's how you know if you're using the pulling technique I recommend: If your voice feels strain or fatigue after using it, you are putting too much air pressure through your cords. Back off that pressure and yes, rest your voice. Sing lightly...half voice... for a week or so until you build your stamina. Lip and tongue trills, sirens are easy ways to get it going (IF you pull them instead of push). Also, drink diluted pineapple juice when you practice (unless you're allergic to it) to hydrate and soothe your pharynx. I wish you the very best!

     
  • At May 9, 2016 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Jeep 2003 said...

    Judy
    I am very concerned I had vocsl polyp surgery 5/3/2016 and all was going fine with the exception these last 3 days my husband has been making me very uoset to the point where I ended up yelling 2 days in a row. He mentions my finances while Im trying to recover jn bed stressiing me out and asks all kind of questions which frustrates me and I finally blew up on him and told him to leave me alone he is causing me trouble with making me uoset. I had anthesia reaction with body pains and bruising. My tongue Is numb in certain areas but yet painful in others. My msin concern is he made me so upset I barked a yell or two both days and worried about my voice recovery :(

     
  • At May 17, 2016 at 6:31 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Hi Jeep 2003... You can't afford to abuse your vocal cords when they are healing from surgery. Go on voice rest and just give your poor husband the evil eye... not the evil tongue!! Seriously, I know vocal or any other kind of surgery can cause financial issues. I wish your family the best at this trying time. Do your voice a favor and don't talk... write down what you want to say. Get back with your doc and see if there is any further damage. Best wishes for a good report!

     
  • At June 21, 2016 at 9:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Judy, i gave birth for the first time 2 months ago. Around my 6th month of pregnancy i noticed a drastic change in my voice. I have lost 5 notes from the top of my range and gained 3 on the bottom. My head voice is very weak and aspirate, and my mixed voice is pretty much non-existent. It is pretty much impossible for me to make a sound, and when I do, i can never sing the note that I intend o. It just cracks and ends up as a horrid high-pitched squeak. I have read that hormone changes during pregnancy can affect the voice, but it's been 2 months since I had my son, and there has been no improvement. I am worried that whatever the changes in my hormones did to my vocal cords will be permanent.

     
  • At June 21, 2016 at 12:32 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Hi Anonymous... I didn't notice my post-partum vocal changes because the endotracheal tube had caused such dramatic voice loss, I was in hospital for 3 months with serious complications after birth, and then it took 2 years to heal my body.

    I would really suggest you not worry about it at this point. Allow your body to reverse some of the swelling and other changes from being pregnant. DO NOT push your voice when it's still so vulnerable. Here is a great article talking about changes that will reverse with a little more time: http://www.ohniww.org/pregnancy-voice-change-problems/

    If you do experience prolonged vocal limitations, do like I did. Get with a vocal coach! My very best wishes... and congratulations on your little one!

     
  • At July 22, 2016 at 7:14 PM , Blogger Ben Stephenson said...

    7 months ago I had an emergency tracheotomy and something called a "crike" when I developed a goiter that swelled up into the back of my throat and, along with an anaphylactic drug reaction, tried to choke me to death. I had a trach for 40 days. After it was removed, my voice was hoarse, but that fixed itself within a month. My only lingering problem is that I used to be a decent singer with an almost 2-octave range. When my throat healed, I had about a 3-step range, and I can no longer get sound out at higher or lower notes. I am grateful to be alive, but I miss being able to sing. I assume my problem is due to scar tissue from the emergency crike and trach. I doubt if my ENT can fix it, and I really don't want to under the knife again. Sometimes when I'm driving alone, I attempt to sing notes outside my new micro-range, and the result sounds like a tortured water-buffalo. I don't know if stretching my damaged larynx will help, but I'll keep trying. (On a positive note, I can whistle better than anyone I know.)
    -- Ben in San Antonio, Texas

     
  • At July 23, 2016 at 6:48 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Ben, it's only been 7 months. I know that sounds like a long time, but if I were in your shoes I think I'd wait another 6 months and see if the tissue relaxes. Yes, enjoy your life, and then after a little more time, get checked out by a good (maybe different?) ENT and get a medical opinion about what can be done. It is ALWAYS beneficial to take air pressure down to a minimum when sounding your voice, so that's another reason not to try too hard to sing right now. And watch your speaking voice, too... speak with as little breathiness as you can, and power your voice from your pelvic floor, not your chest. Take care... obviously God says you're not done yet:)

     
  • At August 22, 2016 at 4:05 PM , Anonymous Frank Byers said...

    Judy, I was recently in the hospital starting on March 23rd. Four days later I was flown to OSU and put into a coma for 31 days. Double pneumonia, swine flu, then A.R.D.S. They trached me. I sing in the church choir, do solos, and Elvis tribute concerts as well as sing in the car and shower! I have lost an Octave and a half as well. Still have sinus drainage into the throat which drives me crazy. I try and sing the higher notes and start coughing. So I can totally relate to what you went through. I am lucky be alive, but I push myself in rehab, working out, lifting weights. I am 56, far from giving up, but I need my singing voice back but currently the scar tissue at the vocal box is an issue. This is a slow crawl back to health and they say it will be 6 months to a year for a full recovery. But my mind says I can do anything and my body, well...it's trailing behind! Obviously I am very lucky to still be on top of the grass and I still need to sing How Great Thou Art and He Touched Me with everything I've got. Everyone who sees me says "It's great to see you". I say, "Better to be seen and not viewed!"

     
  • At August 23, 2016 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Great to hear your story, Frank... wow. Congratulations on coming through that adventure! So happy to hear your spirit so excited to get back to your life and your singing... but as you work towards recovery do take it slow... it will be slower than you want it to go. That way you really can fully recover, and not re-injure yourself. Sounds like you have an amazing life to go, far from done yet!

     
  • At September 4, 2016 at 2:31 AM , Blogger Anon said...

    Hi!

    So I'm a new singer. I have a D3-G6 range, and I've been practicing every second day for the past two weeks. This is completely new for my voice... So two weeks ago I tried to reach a very high note which I did well, but I only did it a few times then went on with normal singing (that was my very first practice)... My throat was sore that night and the next evening I was back to normal. Then yesterday I gave in to temptation and started singing quite a hard/big song without warming my vocals up. My throat started to hurt a few hours after, and today I'm trying to rest my voice. My voice isn't completely gone, but it's definitely not normal. Do you think I damaged my vocal cords? Or is it normal for beginners to experience vocal fatigue? I want to add that when I do the vocal warmups I don't feel like that after... I'm quite paranoid... Oh and I got myselt a vocal coach now to help me do everything properly... I'm just scared that I messed it all up and that I won't be my potential best.... Please give me your advice and thoughts xxx

     
  • At September 4, 2016 at 2:31 AM , Blogger Anon said...

    Hi!

    So I'm a new singer. I have a D3-G6 range, and I've been practicing every second day for the past two weeks. This is completely new for my voice... So two weeks ago I tried to reach a very high note which I did well, but I only did it a few times then went on with normal singing (that was my very first practice)... My throat was sore that night and the next evening I was back to normal. Then yesterday I gave in to temptation and started singing quite a hard/big song without warming my vocals up. My throat started to hurt a few hours after, and today I'm trying to rest my voice. My voice isn't completely gone, but it's definitely not normal. Do you think I damaged my vocal cords? Or is it normal for beginners to experience vocal fatigue? I want to add that when I do the vocal warmups I don't feel like that after... I'm quite paranoid... Oh and I got myselt a vocal coach now to help me do everything properly... I'm just scared that I messed it all up and that I won't be my potential best.... Please give me your advice and thoughts xxx

     
  • At September 4, 2016 at 8:07 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    You really did push your voice too hard. Glad you've got a vocal coach... you should bring this up at your lesson and get some vocal training in breath control. Bottom line; singing shouldn't hurt if you're doing it with good technique. You're wise to get some help.

     
  • At December 1, 2016 at 9:22 PM , Blogger Kyle Stevens said...

    I'm very thankful for your story! Mine is not as treacherous, but still sucks! I don't know what my exact range was, but I know that before I was easily able to hit notes in the whistle register mimicking a similar agility (almost I couldn't go from chest to whistle) as Mariah Carey. I began to lose weight and very quickly as I was nearly obese and as the weight fell off I began to get respiratory ailments one after the next PND to Strep and colds and my voice never had a chance to recover when I got Whooping Cough and I know there has to have been some sort of damage or I wouldn't be the way I am now! I can barely work up the effort to fulfill tenor range and to not crack In the 5th register and in the 6th and 7th I basically have two airy screeches left! (though in part this can be that my voice is maturing, I'm 17 and the weight loss/ailments were from 15-16, a month before my 17th birthday being when I got pertussis) and my voice is fatigued after one or two more challenging songs and I have, for the first time in my life, feared the mic and the stage! I really just want to have those beautiful bird like whistles that I love so much back! I want the full, richness of those notes!
    Thanks for listening!

     
  • At December 2, 2016 at 6:30 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Dear Kyle... I'm so sorry you had all this trouble! It sounds like your health in general needs to be your first priority. It took me a full 2 years to physically get stable, and another couple of years to fully gain my range back. Now I have more range than I ever did. So be encouraged, and be patient. Find your way to holistic wellness and let your voice come back with that healing. Even if it is damaged, most of the time it will recover if you let it. Explore not only medical help (and you may need to have your vocal apparatus examinedby an ENT), but also alternative health practitioners. Especially check for acid reflux. You can also do some vocal training at some point to help you gain more control of breath, powering your voice without strain. Thanks for writing; keep reading this blog for free help.

     
  • At May 12, 2017 at 8:09 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Judy, I just read about your tramatic vocal chord injury and had no idea that this happened to you. Being a professional singer and songwriter for many years, working in the television industry, making a record, singing in smoky bar rooms, yelling at kids, singing with Strep Throat, being a praise and worship leader, did I ever think that I would have a vocal issue. For the past few years I have been taking different types of medication for my Inflamatory Arthritis like Sulfer with asprin, Gabapentin, acid reflux in which I do not take like I should, but regardless, I now have a Vocal Varice on my left vocal Chord. The doctor thinks that the acid reflux is to blame, so I am now on vocal rest with lots of water, Prilosac and musinex as well. Hearing that news has really scared me. I slowly noticed that my range felt supressed, my vibrato would break. I really thought it was allergies, getting due to living North of Memphis.I have been praying, listening to healing music, resting as much as I can. I have also completely stopped Arthritis meds and am trying natural remedies instead. If you have any other ideas or know of any others that have recovered their voices back to normal again from my situation. I would surly appreciate any light that you may pass this way. Thanks Lyndsey

     
  • At May 15, 2017 at 7:48 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Dear Lyndsey... I feel for you; and it's amazing that all those things can affect vocal health. I've seen many singers recover fully from vocal trouble including some very serious issues. It's of course an individual matter as to prognosis. I hope you're seeing a laryngologist specializing in voice. I do find that 1. vocal rest until active inflammation subsides, 2. discovering and stopping tissue abuse practices including acid reflux and lack of breath control, and 3. retraining your vocal technique especially as concerns breath management - those steps can result in getting your voice back. I wish you the very best.

     

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