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#1 2014-05-22 01:07:29

99man
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 4
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Voice suddenly gone

It happened a month ago.

I was vocalizing normally during the day with no problems whatsoever.  But that night, I realized that my the upper half of my range was totally gone.  It would cut out near the middle of my chest voice as if hitting a brick wall; anything higher would be just a quiet blast of air.  I then realized that I still had falsetto, but there was no way I could make my notes solidify into head voice.  Using vocal fry to connect through my entire range requires effort and is barely possible.  My voice lately has been very low, and I find it tiring to speak loudly.

Also, accompanying the loss of voice was another symptom:  everytime I yawned, I would feel a sharp pain in the neck.  This symptom went away in a few days, however.

I went to two ENT's and they both found nothing wrong with the cords themselves.  They did absolutely nothing except for prescribe some meds meant for muscle relaxation.

I am highly distressed by the fact that my voice has not gone back to normal in a months time, and I am starting to think that it is permanent.  Can anybody offer some advice?  I had dreams of being a singer songwriter, and now it hurts to think about my future. 

Thanks so much.

Charles

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2014-05-22 01:07:29

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#2 2014-05-25 11:13:37

ronws
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2010-05-23
Posts: 11731
Reputation :   139 

Re: Voice suddenly gone

I am not a doctor but just because they found nothing wrong with the tissue at the folds does not mean that you do not have a problem. It could be a muscle or ligament tear. I don't remember exactly but I think ther's like 24 different muscles and ligaments involved in making any sound. You can be a songwriter regardless of how well you sing or don't sing.

Evan Seinfeld from Biohazard lost most of his voice from misuse but he can still write songs. James Blume is an award-winning songwriter who can mostly hum and not really high. Songwriters make more regular money anyway, as they get paid copyright fees for others to record their songs.

I don't know what to tell you about finding other doctors and whether or not that would help. But it sounds like a muscular or nerve problem if it hurts to yawn.


"When the daylight is rising up in my eyes ..." - Klaus Meine

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#3 2014-05-26 02:25:35

99man
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Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 4
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Re: Voice suddenly gone

Thankyou for your reply, ron!!  You are a great asset to the distressed people on this board.

I have definitely suspected that it may have something to do with muscular or nerve damage.  My vocal problem arose after having a long phone conversation where I was laying on my bed with my neck in an awkward position.  My voice was still good the afternoon before the conversation.


I will try to focus on other things while hoping that the body has a way of healing itself.  It's just so hard and I am a big worrier.  But I guess that there is nothing I can do but wait to see if it gets better :(

I will keep you guys updated just in case this this thread helps anyone.

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#4 2014-05-27 09:54:19

ronws
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2010-05-23
Posts: 11731
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Re: Voice suddenly gone

I injured my voice a few times and it took a while to recuperate. And to learn the hard way that the voice, unlike other muscular endeavors, is not a "muscle" you can "over-train" to make it stronger on less intensive sounds.  And that folds of tissue don't "train" at all.


"When the daylight is rising up in my eyes ..." - Klaus Meine

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#5 2014-05-28 19:48:06

Simon Magus
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Registered: 2013-07-30
Posts: 78
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Re: Voice suddenly gone

Hi there,

I second what Ron says about it possibly being muscle or nerve related. I never even thought about such a vocal injury until it happened to me in the Fall of 2012. I don't even know if it occurred while singing or if it was more what they label a "repetitive reuse injury" as I too could not pinpoint exactly when the injury occurred.

What helped me was massage and trigger point release therapy. Also, being mindful of my neck position while looking at my cell phone, computer, etc. You might want to look into the Alexander Technique. I got an MRI to have some peace of mind also. These things are so hard to diagnose sometimes as the complex web of muscles in the head and neck are all interconnected. It could be stress/TMJ related also.

I still have issues with the one side of my neck a year and a half later but I've worked on my technique so it mostly doesn't affect my voice. Just be vigilant, systematically rule out possible causes, and keep your head up, er straight. Best of luck!

Last edited by Simon Magus (2014-05-28 19:51:24)

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#6 2014-06-02 19:40:36

Nate10001110101
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2014-06-02
Posts: 1
Reputation :   

Re: Voice suddenly gone

99man:

This same thing happened to me. It started with a muscle spasm in my throat that occurred right after I ate lunch. Spasms lasted maybe five minutes or so and went away, never to return. This seemed insignificant at the time, and may have been unrelated. I only remembered this occurrence later when other weird stuff started happening.

The next day, and for a little over a week, I couldn't yawn fully because I got a clenching/pinching feeling in my throat. I could only yawn satisfactorily if I leaned my head forward all the way, putting my chin to my chest. A full yawn with my head level just was not possible. I had no falsetto voice at this time, and most of my mid to upper range (probably 60% of my range) was completely gone. It seemed just like when my voice changed during puberty. I would "reach" for a certain pitch, and it just wasn't there.

I hadn't done much of any singing in the weeks leading up to this, so I don't feel like it was caused by overuse.

I seem to have gotten a little better over time, so I'm hoping that it slowly works itself back out. It has been about six weeks now, and I have about half my falsetto range back, and some of my higher mid-range chest voice which was also previously gone. I'm still not anywhere near where I should be, and the length of time it has lasted concerns me, but the fact that I have shown small improvement keeps me optimistic.

I have also noticed that I get an occasional itchy/tingling sensation in my throat. It is barely noticeable and doesn't happen often. May be allergy-related. I don't know if it has anything to do with this thing or not.

Keep us updated on your progress and I will do the same.

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#7 2014-06-03 00:51:18

99man
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 4
Reputation :   

Re: Voice suddenly gone

Wow nate, that sounds exactly like my condition.  Unexplained onset, muscle spasm, painful yawn, mid-upper range completely gone. 

And I am also at the 6 week mark.  What a co-incidence eh?

I, too, have felt minor improvement over the last two weeks or so.  I am now able to do a slide if I keep the volume low.  I am not totally sure if the improvement is just in my head, or whether my muscles have simply learned to somehow compensate for the dysfunction.

I have been doing sliding exercises with a straw in order to keep the airflow steady and consistent when they blow past the cords.  You may want to try it.

It is comforting to have somebody to fight through this together with.

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#8 2014-06-03 01:02:15

ronws
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2010-05-23
Posts: 11731
Reputation :   139 

Re: Voice suddenly gone

And I will include my tale of woe for 99man, though others have read it before in similar threads, I think it bears repeating. So, for those who have disdain for my long posts, I beseech thee to turn away, read something else, if possible.

I have been singing a really long time. Everyone in my family sang. Along with the radio, in church, around the house, whatever. I pick a starting point, however, when I started teaching myself guitar in 1974. I was 10 years old and we had an old guitar around the house and all we could afford was a new set of strings and Mel Bay's Book of Chords. Anyway, the reason was because I liked "doing songs." The first song I picked by ear, before I knew any chords was "Who'll Stop the Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Anyway, so, I never had a deep voice but I also didn't have a lot of power in my high end. It was mostly falsetto until 1988, when I read "How to Sing" by Graham Hewitt. And while I admired many singers like Robert Plant (I love all the music by Led Zeppelin) and Guns and Roses, I never thought or desired that I needed to sound like another singer, to idolize and be mistaken in sound for that singer. Just blundering blindly on, thinking my own voice was and is valid.

Then, I came to this forum and a number of guys were doing covers by AC/DC. And I do a few of those songs, too. In fact, "Highway to Hell" is my theme song, a description of my life, but that could be book, by itself. Anyway, a number of guys were talking about "false vocal fold distortion." And I thought I needed to learn how to do this. And tried, twice. And lost my voice, twice. I described it as self-inflicted partial laryngitis, though that is probably not a medically accurate diagnosis. I injured myself twice because I thought I had done the fvf distortion thing wrong the first time I tried it.

Strain in the throat area was evident but it went away, like most muscle strains, within about 48 hours. However, what was left was similar to symptoms involving swollen folds and muscles. Lack of flexibility in the voice. All I had left was my low end, around C3, and that sounded like a honk. No high end, except for a whistle sound, when I did try. I went from being able to do "Immigrant Song" to nothing.

So, what did I do to recover? it was about a two week process. Nothing the first week. No singing, only speaking when spoken to and even then, in soft volume and tones. After about the first week, I would do soft, almost falsetto, descending slides. No more than 10 minutes in duration, quiet volume, no more than twice a day.

And I went through that twice. And cursed myself, using language I cannot use here. Translation, I was total and complete moron, idiot, stupid ignoramus with a warm pile of dog mess where my brains should have been. As much as others may have thought I am brazen, or sarcastic, or a bit confrontational, the worst has been upon myself. I have this thing that God or evolution, whichever you prefer, gave me and I nearly ruined it "trying to fit in."

So, the final part of the therapy was to resolve to never do again the stupid thing that cost me my voice. Years later, I also realized that what others call FVF distortion is not necessarily that and even if it is, I am genetically different. I have not the same epiglottis and FVF, which is actually a membrane, as others. In fact, I have a history, also seen in my elders from whom I am genetically descended, of "breathing the wrong way." or "Swallowing the wrong way." A colloquialism that means that food or liquid gets into the airway. So much so that sinus drainage from allergies can cause a "choking fit."  I had to learn to sleep on my side, rather than on my back.

In addition, I did some rigorous soul-searching.  I have never particularly liked "distorted" voices and there can be many reasons for that. The upbringing. My step-grandfather liked opera. My first memory of singer, I was a toddler on the couch, and Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" was on the radio. So, my first voice to hear was a ringing tenor. As opposed to some of these younger guys who first remember Corey Taylor's growly bits in Slipknot.

And maybe I just have a voice that does not have a lot of rattle.  I can do some rattle and it is a result of my uvula vibrating against the hump of the tongue and way away from the throat and the folds.

So, going through this, I have earned the reputation of being a lazy singer who is not doing enough with his voice. A lucky untrained singer who has "not yet injured his voice." I swear to God, a person here has actually said that. A "satisfied hobbyist in your adulthood."

Well, making these changes in my mental perspective has brought my voice back. I am 50 and I can still sing notes I did in my 20's.

No exercise, "technique" or use of voice should ever, ever cause loss of voice, pain, discomfort, or loss of range. EVER.

If it does, then it is wrong, pure and simple and if stating that gets me banned from this forum, then so be it.

I am not saying that you can't try some new things. But it must be within your own voice. And if it hurts or causes loss of function, it is simply wrong. Period, paragraph, new book, forever, and amen.

So, 99, get well, listen to your voice, it will teach you. That is what a classical coach told me and I have not found him to be wrong. He has been teaching voice and piano for most of my life, with academic creds to back it, too.

Last edited by ronws (2014-06-03 01:07:12)


"When the daylight is rising up in my eyes ..." - Klaus Meine

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#9 2014-06-15 21:24:33

VocalScience
TMV Forum Member
From: Toronto
Registered: 2009-04-11
Posts: 4
Reputation :   
Website

Re: Voice suddenly gone

Hello Charles,
I just read your story and I greatly sympathize with you.
Many years ago something similar (with respect to voice loss) happened to me.
It was very disheartening and very scary, as on top of it, I was the sole proprietor of the professional vocal school and felt like a ballerina who danced all her life and suddenly lost her leg.
Luckily, I already had a quite innovative technique at that time and was able to apply it to myself to restore my voice, but not without the help of natural herbs and homeopathic remedies.
My vocal science technique coupled with the very strong and pure remedies did wonders, first for me and then for over 20,000 clients of mine.
To restore your voice you will have to release your neck muscles, then chest and shoulders.
By your description, I presume, you are experiencing what's called muscle tension dysphonia.
It is a very nasty voice disorder which is extremely hard to get rid of, but luckily not impossible.
If you are interested to know more, please visit my websites below and read my blogs on the matter.
If you have any further questions or want to learn about how to conquer MTD in greater detail, please feel free to contact me.
Best regards,

Diana Yampolsky

http://www.vocalscience.com/
http://www.repairyourvoice.com/


Diana Yampolsky B.M. Ed.
Master Vocal Coach/In-studio Vocal Producer/Non-surgical Voice Repair Specialist
The Royans School
www.vocalscience.com
1-888-229 - TUNE (8863) toll free in North America

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#10 2014-06-24 05:29:53

99man
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 4
Reputation :   

Re: Voice suddenly gone

Hey everyone, I have an update.  It seems like I have improved my disorder by taking acid reflux pills.

I started taking Zantac mostly because of heartburn; the improvement to my vocal cords came as a surprise. 

After a week of taking Zantac religiously, I stopped because of the side effect (bad diarrhea).  And guess what:  the huge break in the voice came back.  I can live with the heartburn, but not the voice disorder, so I decided to go back to the Zantac but at a decreased dosage.  I have been back on the Zantac for four days now, taking half a pill only at meal times.  My voice is improving by the day.  I would say that today (day 4 of Zantac), my range is 60% back.

So turns out it was not muscle tension dysphonia; it was that my vocal cords were bathed in acid.

I am quite elated and I urge everyone with a similar situation to check out their acid reflux.

Charles

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#11 2014-06-24 06:42:45

DennisDo
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2014-03-19
Posts: 28
Reputation :   

Re: Voice suddenly gone

I'm on a similar boat but I refuse to take ppi's. ATM I'm fixing up my diet and taking HCL w/pepsin and digestive enzymes. I'm trying to fix the root of the problem and encourage those to do the same as well.

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#12 2014-06-25 09:39:41

ronws
TMV Forum Member
Registered: 2010-05-23
Posts: 11731
Reputation :   139 

Re: Voice suddenly gone

99man wrote:

Hey everyone, I have an update.  It seems like I have improved my disorder by taking acid reflux pills.

I started taking Zantac mostly because of heartburn; the improvement to my vocal cords came as a surprise. 

After a week of taking Zantac religiously, I stopped because of the side effect (bad diarrhea).  And guess what:  the huge break in the voice came back.  I can live with the heartburn, but not the voice disorder, so I decided to go back to the Zantac but at a decreased dosage.  I have been back on the Zantac for four days now, taking half a pill only at meal times.  My voice is improving by the day.  I would say that today (day 4 of Zantac), my range is 60% back.

So turns out it was not muscle tension dysphonia; it was that my vocal cords were bathed in acid.

I am quite elated and I urge everyone with a similar situation to check out their acid reflux.

Charles

Awesome, dude. I am so glad that you found a better medical solution that you can manage.


"When the daylight is rising up in my eyes ..." - Klaus Meine

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