Voice damage

Voice damage in singers and speaking professions

Do you suffer from voice problems or even voice damage? 

In most cases these can be remedied with the help of good voice training. There are very good speech therapists for that. 

If you sing, however, very well trained singers can usually help you better, because they are masters of extreme performance and know what is important.

Let’s take a look together at what voice damage there is, how such voice problems occur and how they can be corrected.

voice damage

External influences for voice damage

Of course, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and an unhealthy lifestyle are harmful to your voice. People react differently to such external influences. 

The famous song singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for example, was a chain smoker until old age and his voice was not harmed at all. Other singers hear a dust granule from the far and lose their voice. 

In midsummer, they are often surrounded by red singing peels and are hypochondriacs who carry an entire pharmacy around with them.

Just try to live a healthy life, avoid screaming and night-long phone calls and don’t believe in fairy tales like “milk hurts your voice” and “sweets that heal hoarseness”. 

After all, your food does not have to go through the throat into the stomach.

Irreparable voice damage

If you have simply exaggerated it with bad technique, it can be that only an operation can help you. There are also deformations and malformations, but these are extremely rare. 

My girlfriend, for example, has four vocal folds, according to your doctor. But this goes too far for my blog, because I am not a doctor.

voice damage

Most voice damage, voice problems are curable!

I have often healed people with vocal chords, freed them from hoarseness and helped them to find their beautiful voice again. 

This is possible through voice training.
What causes vocal problems that develop into damage?

Psychological causes:

During a terrible experience it can be that the breath stops and it literally ties your throat. I myself have experienced that even fellow singers have lost their singing voice for some time after a traumatizing message. However, these are extreme cases. Stress and inhibition are usually the psychological causes of voice problems.

Emotions affect your breath. Only when your breath is optimally guided are your vocal folds free from stress and able to swing freely. The breathing stream closes the vocal chords by itself (Bernouilli effect) and you don’t need to squeeze and squeeze with your throat.

Stress also causes a tense jaw, a stiff neck and similar unwanted side effects. This musculature is interwoven with the throat and the sound of the voice is impaired. 

As a rule, particularly jammed women have a tense jaw that is accompanied by immobile pelvic floor muscles. 

But don’t worry: There’s hardly anyone who has such a loose jaw from the front that it’s enough to sing. Especially for classical singing, relaxed people need to work on a flexible jaw first!

voice damage

voice problems and even voice damage due to a wrong singing technique or speaking technique

Especially persistent to teach are choir singers who sing heavy pieces without having made good vocal training. They try to reach the highest heights with their own methods, sing loudly and accustom themselves to a harmful technique. 

First comes hoarseness after singing, then pain and later voice damage. Due to the constant repetition it will be very difficult to train such squeezing habits again. But it’s possible.

The following bad habits can ruin your voice:

• Jaws to the front cramp to catch the high note.

• For high notes, go up with the whole body and press the note out of the neck.

• To raise the soft palate too cramped: They want to do it well, think of the famous “hot potato” and exaggerate. The sound becomes hollow or breathed, the tongue blocks the epiglottis and the vocal chords are negatively influenced.

• To produce unnatural vowels. The tongue has an influence on the throat. Let your singing teacher explain the saying “si parla come si canta” (one sings as one speaks) with a sound example. Vowels are adjusted to achieve optimal overtones, but not manipulated into hollow sounds.

• Flaccidity and tension in the lips. They should be consciously formed.

• An unhealthy attitude. Take a look at my anatomy pictures. The back posture and the position of your neck has a great influence on the sound. Even when sitting (choir rehearsal) you can assume an optimal singing posture.

• Not being all there: The sounds they sing are not just there, they have a reason. If you don’t cheer inwardly at a Hallelujah, your body won’t understand why this high note is coming now. You’ll have no choice but to press the clay.

my important advice for you

As a general rule, singing lessons are always about finding the golden mean. The example of mouth position is the best way to illustrate this. A mouth opening that is too small will not produce a full sound. 

Too far up can lead to breeze and dullness. So I have to say to some students: “Much more open!”, to the others “more closed again!”.

At this point I would like to offer you the following. Do you remember your driving test? The theory was important and worth knowing, but you learned to drive a car mainly during the practical lessons. 

They didn’t think to themselves: “Hm, I don’t have a driving licence yet, but I can drive a bit on the motorway first and then maybe take a few driving lessons later”. 

Ok, it would be a life-threatening undertaking, but you should not underestimate the use of the voice: It’s just two little ribbons. They can’t stand much and must be spared. 

Anyone who has ever had voice problems knows how much suffering there is. 

That’s why they’re looking for the best singing lessons they can get!

„sing expressively and from your heart“

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Susanna Proskura

>>about me>>
Dipl. classical singer
Dipl. vocal pedagogue
Dipl. Concert Singing
Dipl. Art Song
(Munich Conservatory of Music)