Voice Problem Support

community for people with voice problems started by The Lary Project

Hi,Billy here and i am a brand new member and just feeling around in the dark for help to my problem,hoping there is someone out there who can shine a light and take me forward.Up until 2 years ago i had been singing professionally for around 20+years,successfully and without any major problems.Around a year before i had to stop, i started to develop a very strange feeling whilst singing,like in my head and body i was doing everything by the book like i always did but my breathing and voice appeared to have other ideas,it was like i had lost control of both,and although i was still singing it wasnt raspy or painful it was shallow and powerless,and at times the note i was holding in my head wanted to veer off,it was humiliating, too awful for words and has left me very depressed as if grieving for something that i loved has died and now cant find the confidence within me to try again,i need an injection of help from somewhere and pray that someone can relate to this so i dont feel so alone.I attended my local ENT clinic for tests and scans and was assured there was nothing sinister causing this which makes it more of a mystery,on top of that it is a very difficult thing to explain.Looking forward to hopefully hearing something positive back from this


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Comment by Sparkle on December 11, 2013 at 19:24

Hello Billy, I'm so sorry to hear about your experience and I empathize. May I ask, what tests and scans did you have, what were they looking for/at and are you currently seeing any health professional for this problem?

Comment by WilliamMcLauchlan on December 12, 2013 at 0:45

 Hi Sparkle,thank you so much for reply and empathy i really appreciate it.I had a scope down into my vocal cords and larynx,they were looking for and expecting to find nodules with me being a singer for such a long time,but found nothing sinister at all,as strange as it may seem i was actually hoping they would find something to let me get on with the identification and relevant treatment/therapy.At present i am not attending any professional help of any kind,i have spent the last couple of years desperately unhappy and afraid in case i was told i couldnt sing in any capacity again,but now i feel i need to rise up and get on top of that fear

Comment by Sparkle on December 12, 2013 at 10:59

Hi Billy, It doesn't sound strange at all - you want answers and you want the problem resolved, that's only natural. Being unhappy and afraid is natural too, and  could possibly have exacerbated  the problem.

If I understand correctly, they didn't find what they were looking for, but they didn't give you any suggestions about what the cause might be. Therefore, in my non medical and non professional opinion, with no improvement two years down the line it would seem reasonable to progress investigations and explore treatment options.

I wonder if it's worth having more tests and/or seeing someone else, such as a Speech and Language Therapist. They have various tests they can do, such as attaching a microphone type device to the outside of your throat, getting you to try and make various sounds and measuring the vibration. That can pick up vocal function even if you are not making a significant audible sound. It would be useful to know what your vocal chords are doing when you try and sing.  Depending on their conclusions, they can refer you on, or give you therapy, or both.  In my area they work with ENT and other departments so it's not a case of one department/specialist not finding what they are looking for and that's the end of it - there are various options. I think it may help to get back into the system and possibly even start at the beginning again.

A barium swallow might be worthwhile, a nerve conduction study, MRI - all sorts of things to thoroughly check out not only the health of your singing gear, but the function itself -eg, if there is nothing physically wrong with your vocal chords, is the message getting through to them when you want them to work?  

Are you a trained singer? ie have you always looked after your voice, done vocal, postural and breathing exercises etc. Did you do this full time or as well as a 'day job?'

Did anything significant happen in your life, either suddenly or over time, around the time that you started having voice problems? You don't need to answer that, or tell me anything personal - I'm just suggesting that you consider this yourself.

There could be many contributing factors to this problem, so considering all possibilities and looking at the whole picture may be helpful. 

Comment by Sparkle on December 12, 2013 at 11:03

I forgot to say, you explained the problem very well and I understand it completely.

Comment by WilliamMcLauchlan on December 13, 2013 at 0:52

Hey Sparkle thank you yet again for your reply,it eases my mind greatly to have your understanding and support,especially when i thought i wasnt explaining it properly!!Your suggestions have shone a new light on my options for treatment,and your point of perhaps having to start at the beginning is exactly what i was thinking,learning to ride the bike again,stabilizers and all.Your wealth of in depth knowledge in this area has me thinking you either work in speech/language therapy or have been through similar trauma yourself?or both?

I am not a trained singer but have always done my utmost to take care of my voice in the way you enquired about and had the advantage of not being a smoker or habitual drinker(evn though some of the best singers sooo were!!)

In answer to your question of any significant'exterior'factors well,around about that time my long term partner and i were having problems in our once wonderful relationship and that was killing me,but in my long career in singing i had experienced much worse,i.e. the very sudden death of my beloved mother and i always got through,in most cases stronger,but i do suppose it can all manifest in different ways.

I am going to pursuit the avenues you have suggested and cant thank you enough for the renewed courage to do so,i badly need the old me back again.Would you mind if i keep in touch with any progress i achieve?

Comment by Sparkle on December 13, 2013 at 11:13

I would be very interested to hear how you get on.

Comment by WilliamMcLauchlan on December 15, 2013 at 20:10

Hi.Thank you so so much for that,i dont feel alone anymore

Comment by Fb_2005 on December 29, 2013 at 19:46

Hi Billy, I'm new to this forum.

I just read your post. Just wandering how you got on? I agree with sparkle- often ENT say that there is nothing to be worried about when they scope but it doesn't change the fact that your voice doesn't sound or feel normal. A Speech and Language Therapist would definitely be the people to address this alongside ENT. They can at least help address some of the sensations you're experiencing in your throat on speaking (and singing). You may need to find an SLT with extended practice in singing though.

I found this website quite useful. There is a section on voice disorders and it tells you about how to get a referral to a private speech therapist. http://findslt.co.uk/diagnosis/3/Voice-Disorder 

Best of luck!

Comment by Fb_2005 on December 29, 2013 at 19:47


Comment by WilliamMcLauchlan on December 31, 2013 at 1:51

Hi Fb2005

                Thank you so much for your post and along with Sparkle's comments i would certainly agree with both of you,there has to be a reason for it,,all the time i was thinking the only reason  possible for my loss was that i was washed up and finished,but not now,i will explore every avenue open to me to regain what i had before thanks to the feedback i have had from yourself and Sparkle,will keep you up to date and many thanks again!!

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