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Any tips for recovery?

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Marcus
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Happy holidays to you all!

I'm almost regretting moving back to colder climate after 2 years in warmer places... I had a bit of a cold about 2 weeks ago. Since I felt it coming I didn't do much singing and stopped vocal excercises to go easy on my voice. But I still lost it. It was reduced to some low crackly bottom notes. Now it's slowly coming back. And I mean slowly. At first I didn't have any top notes at all, but now I can sing some lighter notes (light falsetto/neutral) but not curbing/mixed voice. I feel like I'm reduced to about half my vocal ability. If I try to sing with more cord closure around my passagio and above the voice just breaks and distorts, so I think there's still some swelling on the cords.

I'm getting restless, since I want to sing and practice. I have 2 auditions for rock bands coming up in the start of january. Any tips on getting my voice back as fast as possible would be appreciated. Should I just rest or should I start warming up and do light excercises? It doesn't hurt when singing, but the voice isn't there.

I've had this happen to me before, in the end of 2009. Then I didn't care so much about an oncoming cold and pushed my voice through rehearsals and excercises. It took a long time before I felt that my voice was "in place" again, after 3 months it still felt weaker than before I lost it. Seems it didn't matter too much that I was more easy on my voice this time :(

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Last year I had a cold for a few days but had to sing live. What fixed my voice was doing very SLS warm ups several times a day for just a few days. Mark Baxter also says that the best cure for a tired throat is light warm ups. Unless you've actually injured your throat, in which case a doctor and rest are needed.

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I remember Jaime Vendera's Raise Your Voice first edition book stating the only time it is unsafe to sing is when you have Laryngitis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laryngitis

Your description includes the loss of voice. Thus, I would recommend resting your voice. Since this happens to your voice somewhat regularly, it is important to identify why. Notice the list of causes on the wikipedia page.

If your throat is sore then you may have some post-nasal drip going on. Mucinex D will help. Not sure if you have Mucinex in Sweden, but I'm sure you have something for treating post-nasal drip.

here is a list of some causes of laryngitis:

acid reflux disease

allergies

bacterial or fungal infection

use of inhaled corticosteroids for asthma treatment

viral infection

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Thanks for the tips! Haven't seen a doctor since I don't have any pain in the throat. I think the loss of voice was connected to the cold. I don't really have a sore throat either, it just feels like the cords are a little swollen since I can't get closure enough to sing in mix/curbing. I'll give my voice a bit more rest over New Year and if it's not better maybe I'll see if I can find an ENT doctor to check on my cords.

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It's possible to have some swollen muscles, too, as you compensate for swollen folds, and swollen whatever. The body often can run a fever, even you don't feel hot, as it fights the infection. Better to mainly rest and drink lots of water. One cannot avoid suffering a cold. But drinking lots of fluids raises your basal metabolic rate by making you pee more often. In essence, all you can do is flush it out of your system. When I have a cold, I will get this drink powder called Emergen-C. And drink a few of those a day, they are flavored so it is pleasant.

Eat things that are easy to metabolize. Chicken soup or noodle soup. Avoid heavy cream or fat-laden milk. Such things tend to aid in the production of mucus to sometimes too much.

My wife, who doesn't sing as much or like I do, can lose her voice just from suffering allergies, let alone a cold. Anyway, she will do these things. And take a hot, steaming bath with epsom salt. And wear sweats or warm-ups and a blanket. I leave really early in the morning and she is asleep, so I plant a kiss on her forehead before I leave. And she could be dripping with sweat. But she feels and sounds a lot better that next day.

And, I would think, you can continue with warm-ups, just to keep the coordination going. Even when I have had a cold, if I absolutely must sing to the dog and cat, I may limit myself to one song, after warm-ups. Even that is not at "full throttle." Almost marking the song like an opera rehearsal. That is where you sing the role light, and the high parts are sung in falsetto, just to remember the place in your head where those notes belong.

When you do make it the auditions, don't make excuses. Don't mention that you just got over or are getting over a cold. Don't say "this isn't my best." Whether it is or not, you are setting them up with expectations for you to fail, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, even if it was really outstanding. Their hearing would be discolored by your disclaimer. Singing is mental. So is hearing.

You are doing your best. And who knows, you may get a tone then that totally blows them away, not knowing that it is you recovering. And really, it is your best, as you always give. After my second bout of self-induced laryngitis, I recorded a version of "Heaven and Hell" when my voice was not up to full speed and one person really liked the tone of the high notes. Well, I had no fine control and all I could do was keep my throat open and completely relaxed. I said "Thanks, but hopefully, I won't be able to do that, again." Doing that song that way at that time helped my voice recover but still, caution is the better part of lasting vocal health.

In the meantime, I will conjure my mojo to wish a speedy recovery.

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Thanks for the tips! Haven't seen a doctor since I don't have any pain in the throat. I think the loss of voice was connected to the cold. I don't really have a sore throat either, it just feels like the cords are a little swollen since I can't get closure enough to sing in mix/curbing. I'll give my voice a bit more rest over New Year and if it's not better maybe I'll see if I can find an ENT doctor to check on my cords.

Marcus: Swollen cords are not the reason for incomplete closure. If anything, swollen cords are _easier_ to get closure, but will result in very rough phontation.

If you have an issue with closure, that is just incomplete adduction, which could be the result of irritation in the interarytenoids.

All that said, vocal rest is an excellent idea. You can also do some very light onset exercises to see if you can get a firm one.

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Thanks for all the help and replies! I will try to keep warm, rest and drink even more water.

I'll try not to mention the cold when auditioning, but I will probably have to cancel the audition if I can't sing my high notes full out. Hopefully they can wait a week or two more then. Those meaty top notes feel pretty essential when auditioning for a rock band :)

When I just lost the voice I was hoarse and raspy and could only use the bottom part of my voice. I'm not raspy or hoarse when singing chest or falsetto, but if I try to get more closure for mix/curbing from the passagio and upward the voice just sort of distorts, sounding really really hoarse in that particular register. Still don't have the top falsetto notes, but singing lightly there's no hoarseness or rasp. Speaking voice feels just like normal.

Steven - thanks, I didn't really think of it that way. Should I wait for this irritation to go away completely before attempting to get more closure in the mix register then? I have closure in lighter configurations as stated.

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I would also agree with Steven. It sounds like your malady has similar effect to the one I had fall of 2010. The folds didn't hurt. But I had no fine control. So, more than likely, my muscles controlling TA and to some extent, CT were swollen or strained, which would lead to swelling. Nothing but time and a light re-entry into singing could fix it.

So, yeah, if you have to postpone the auditions, that could be better than pushing and doing damage. They will either understand, or not.

As for my malady, it happened twice. Because I had to show that I could be an idiot twice in a row, evidently. :lol:

And it was an average of two weeks before singing again, and then, it was light.

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Well, sounds like I'm in the same situation as you were ronws. You ended up in that situation by straining practicing grit maybe? I have been trying to practice some grit, but didn't do that in the days before vocal loss. I wasn't even doing much normal vocal excercices, only some warm ups and songs.

I feel so naked without my voice, like a part of me is missing. But on the bright side I'm playing more guitar now at least :cool:

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One more thing: TRY NOT TO PANIC. I notice when I get this kind of stuff I start thinking odd thoughts like "what if I've bunged up my voice?" "what if it doesn't come back in time?" this kind of stuff creates tension making it much harder to relax. I don't know about u, but as a singer, I am hyper prone to psyching myself out. Try and relax. Steam. Juice. Rest. Cut back on the talking. Humming is Al's great. Ng slides too. Also, VERY light scales on eee help me. SUPER light, almost inaudibe. Good luck.

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I'm following your tips on light SLS excercises Jonpall, feels like the voice is coming back slowly but surely. Also I've had lots of rest, water and trying to keep warm. I can do a lighter mix from passagio and upwards now, not just a weak falsetto, so it's moving in the right direction :)

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Never had a scope, but I think I'm fine. Voice is back now, although still a little bit weak in the passagio. Recorded a new song yesterday, and audition on wednesday for a band here where I live. I'm back on track :D Thanks for all advice people!

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Never had a scope, but I think I'm fine. Voice is back now, although still a little bit weak in the passagio. Recorded a new song yesterday, and audition on wednesday for a band here where I live. I'm back on track :D Thanks for all advice people!

a scope to see the vocal folds to a singer is like a checkup. i can't hurt to check.

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Colds affect the entire respiratory tract, and my amateur opinion is that the vocal cords themselves are only a small aspect of these. The vocal cords are affected by the rest of the tissues and muscles surrounding. These mean that one's entire vocal tract resonance, coordination, and power, including those muscles directly pulling on the cords, are affected.

So, with a cold, it's easier to first determine how the resonance and coordination of the other muscles and tissues (which constitute over 99% of the mass) affect the sound--before pointing at the vocal cords.

Also, affect and effect can be quite different. A drippy nose (cause above mouth) can cause a sore throat (effect); cause is more valuable information than effect location.

Once you've identified cause, there are frequently many Over-the-Counter meds that can solve many issues. For example, an antihistamine to stop the drippy nose rather than a sore throat lozenge.

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Well, sounds like I'm in the same situation as you were ronws. You ended up in that situation by straining practicing grit maybe? I have been trying to practice some grit, but didn't do that in the days before vocal loss. I wasn't even doing much normal vocal excercices, only some warm ups and songs.

I feel so naked without my voice, like a part of me is missing. But on the bright side I'm playing more guitar now at least :cool:

Yes, that was exactly it, with a fundamental misunderstanding on my part of what it takes to produce the sound the right way, a misunderstanding of anatomy based on a common misconception of anatomy. So, I did not attempt it again until I learned more about both technique and anatomy. The technique I learned from the wise words and examples of a really good instructor/coach. And probably at least a year after I had done myself harm.

Not that anyone has to wait that long. We all learn at different rates and often, simply need to hear or read it in a different perspective for it to click.

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