Taking voice problems seriously

US News & World Report recently published an article on common causes of hoarseness. They include:

  • a cold
  • allergies
  • acid reflux (which, by the way, can actually burn the vocal cords!)
  • cancer of the larynx, thyroid, or lungs

The article gives five tips for dealing with a hoarse voice:

  • Talk to your doctor about getting a larygeal exam.
  • Protect your voice by drinking enough water, avoiding smoke, and not clearing your throat, coughing, shouting or yelling. 
  • Avoid decongestants, which can dry out the vocal cords.
  • Remember that the degree of hoarseness doesn’t correlate with the seriousness of the problem.  Don’t assume a really hoarse voice indicates cancer or that a little hoarseness isn’t an issue. 
  • Get voice training. If your speaking voice fatigues easily, you may be unintentionally misusing it. Just a few sessions with a speech and language pathologist can teach you how to use your voice more effectively. And your health insurance may pick up the bill. If you fatigue quickly while singing, look for a voice teacher with experience in working with injured voices.

Read the US News article here!

Finally, keep in mind that issues that affect the speaking voice often show up more dramatically when we sing. Even if you’re a casual singer, look for a doctor with experience in dealing with “professional voice users.” Any other specialist probably won’t understand the singing process and how problems that seem minor to a speaker can really hinder a singer. Read this previous post on how to find a qualified voice doctor.