My thoughts...Wisdom from over the years

Vocal Damage Part 2

Posted in: Featured, tip of the week ♦ Monday, September 10th, 2012, 12:17 pm ♦ 1 Comment on Vocal Damage Part 2


How do I know if I have vocal damage?

If you suspect you may have vocal damage, I hate to say this but, you probably do.  However, the degree of damage is very important in terms of what action to take.  Some things you can look for are:

Consistent soreness in the throat.

Pain in the muscles surrounding the larynx when talking or singing.

Chronic hoarseness or raspy  voice.

Continually needing to clear the throat.

Any pain when talking or singing—even within a short period of time.

Decrease in range, or difficulty in hitting notes you once could.

An area or space in your voice that ‘just won’t come out’.


Having one or more of these symptoms may indicate that you have some damage to the vocal cords.  The damage may be minor however and easily fixed with rest. For example, let’s say you and a friend went to a wedding and talked and laughed over the band all night. You wake up the next day and your throat is sore, your voice is hoarse and you cannot reach your normal singing range.  You have done damage but all you need is to rest and hydrate your vocals and they should repair themselves quickly.

On the other hand, if you are misusing (or abusing) your voice frequently and  finding yourself experiencing these symptoms often or constantly, you may have some more serious damage to contend with.  This is the time to get to a doctor. The type of doctor you need to see is an ENT (ear, nose and throat). This type of doctor is expert on issues involving the voice. A typical exam will include a video scope of your vocal cords (most insurance companies cover these services) giving the doctor a close-up look at the condition of your vocal cords.

Common findings are swollen cords, bleeding cords, vocal nodules, polyps, and even pulled muscles in the throat.  Although there are varying degrees of these maladies as well as various causes, most of the time treatment for them is the same.  REST and more rest! Nodules can be likened to tiny little calluses that have formed as a result of overuse or habitual misuse/abuse. The vocal cords produce pitch by vibrating against one another and if they are slammed into each with too much force too frequently, they can form nodules in response.  Nodules are not always removed surgically anymore. In fact with proper rest, training and re-training of speech patterns through speech therapy, they can be eliminated safely without surgery. But it does require diligence and commitment.

If damage is found, it is likely that your doctor will first and foremost send you to a speech therapist to insure that you gain a proper understanding of correct speech. After all, you speak a lot more than you sing—no matter who you are! Then he will send you on to the more arduous task of learning how to SING correctly.  Both of these skills are necessary before you can safely move forward without risking more, and perhaps permanent, vocal damage.


Getting to the place where you finally admit that you may have vocal damage and need some help is a big and often scary step.  I understand and appreciate this. But I implore you—take the step to find out.  Simply ignoring the problem will not make it go away and it will just get worse most likely unless you make some serious changes. I want you to be able to serve the Lord and His kingdom for a lifetime.  I do not want you robbed because of fear. You may well find out that things aren’t as bad as you might have thought. You’ll be given tools to permanently solve your vocal issues and with that will come freedom. If you’ve been just ‘living with’ your vocal problems hoping they’ll going away, please know this—they won’t.  Take the necessary steps to solve the problem.  I would be happy to answer any questions you have and give you advice if you simply e-mail me.

God bless you and happy singing!


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One Response to “Vocal Damage Part 2”

  1. Posted by: Shreya Kaul
    September 2nd, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I’m a 16 year old singer and recently lost my voice after cheering at a football game. The next day it came back and I abused it by belting a solo I’m rehearsing WHILEA drikining copious amounts of coffee ( horrible mistake ). After that I lost my voice for about two days. It’s back for the most part, not hoarse or raspy I can sing in my Lower range without any difficulty, but if I want to sing notes in my higher range I have to sing them loudly…I can’t sing them piano because all that comes out is air. It’s only been about 3 days since I got my voice back. How do I get to the uppermost part of my register again? How baldly is my throat damaged?

  2. October 27th, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Im obliged for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

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