My thoughts...Wisdom from over the years

Vocal Damage Part 1

Posted in: Blog, tip of the week ♦ Tuesday, September 4th, 2012, 10:19 am ♦ 2 Comments on Vocal Damage Part 1


Ever wonder if you have vocal damage? When I was studying to be a voice teacher all those years ago, the last thing I ever thought was that I would become an “expert” of sorts with regard to this topic. Sadly however, all the new contemporary singing, with its inherent lack of proper training, has lead to just that—I have become pretty “expert” at diagnosing and helping to deal with all kinds of vocal damage.

What is vocal damage?

Your vocal cords are designed to last you a lifetime and they will do just that if they are taken care of properly.  Unfortunately, without a full understanding of how the vocal mechanism works (or is damaged) many people find themselves with the unhappy predicament of wondering whether or not they have done any serious , long term damage to their vocal cords.  Try to keep this in mind: damage is usually caused by overuse, misuse or abuse.  Let’s have a look at these three things and how they might play out in your world.


This is the easiest one to define. You can overuse you voice in any number of ways.  Perhaps you have a job that’s requires you to talk all day long.  The wear and tear involved in simply phonating for hours and hours can be exhausting to the vocal cords. Many times we’ll have a long, busy day of talking and then head off to rehearsal where we then go on to sing for another hour or two. The voice that was already tired is now pushed beyond its physical endurance and so you might start to feel the effects of soreness, hoarseness or loss of range and flexibility.  So overuse is just simply that-using your voice too much.


Misuse can come in a variety of ways as well. With a lack of training or correct technique we can end up easily misusing our vocal cords.  For example, many people speak in a way that is harsh or harmful to the vocal cords. Instead of using the breathing muscles to support the speaking tone—just like proper singing—many people strain from the throat. Additionally, many people talk at volume levels that can be harmful to the cords if sustained over long periods of time.  So people can misuse their voice by simply talking incorrectly.  Also, because many people sing without any formal training, and therefore a lack of understanding of proper breath support, they may end up employing harmful techniques as they sing. These techniques over an extended period of time can take a serious toll on the health and vitality of the vocal cords. Tack on then, for example, the scenario above where we’ve overused the voice and you can see how easy it might be to incur some serious damage.


Many things can fall under the ‘abuse’ category.  Shouting all night in the cold air at a football game, talking all night over a very loud band, shouting, coughing and constantly clearing your throat, screaming while singing, improper “belt” singing, adding air to your tone while singing…these are all examples of ways to abuse your vocal cords.


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2 Responses to “Vocal Damage Part 1”

  1. Posted by: Mark Haacker
    September 4th, 2012 at 10:51 am

    All Very Good Tips. I would like to add one. Smoking Cigars.It is important that while smoking a good cigar that you do not , Inhale. It is also helpfull to have a livation along with it.

  2. Posted by: Stacia
    September 23rd, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for keeping singers on track and caring for our voices. We want to serve God for as long as possible, and your tips help in so many ways.

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