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Recovering from Laryngytis

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dk1021
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Hey yall, so I was sick with a sore throat and a tiny bit of laryngitis three weeks ago. My speaking voice was half gone during this time, and my head voice was completely gone. So I decided to take it easy and rest my voice until I got it back.

A week later after that, my speaking voice was 100% back, and a tiny bit of my head voice was back. So, ok I thought, a little more rest would do. Fast forward to now, I have like half of my head voice back, but the upper ranges are still "shut" or "squeaky" (Air is coming through the cords, but there is not much adduction happening).

Should I rest more? Or should I try to smooth out the upper parts with vocalizing? It's been kinda hard not doing much singing these past 3 weeks.

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It looks like you are healing steadily, so if I were you I'd wait till the recovery process seems all done before you do any attempt at "smoothing the upper parts"

For now the only vocalizing you should do should just be a matter of therapy and maintaining muscle memory. The way you do that is to not try to compensate for anything, take it as is and just go through the motions as if nothing was wrong with your voice. But you do change one thing - you don't push as much, intensity or range wise. Don't vocalize in the portions of your range you're now straining on. But everything else, even if it's flipping like crazy or sounds funky, if it feels fine just ignore the sound and vocalize anyways. Trust that if you continue with the same muscle memory you use when you're in good voice, once you're finally healed the sound being produced will be all fixed.

So if I were you, right now I'd just vocalize as if ignoring the sound and pretending your voice was fine, and being sure to avoid straining or pushing, for maybe 15 minutes a day.

Another good idea is humming, lip rolls, singing through a straw, any kind of semi-occluded phonation, as those are healthier and more therapeutic than, say, open vowels. You could go through your normal vocalizing routine except using those semi-occluded phonations.

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It looks like you are healing steadily, so if I were you I'd wait till the recovery process seems all done before you do any attempt at "smoothing the upper parts"

For now the only vocalizing you should do should just be a matter of therapy and maintaining muscle memory. The way you do that is to not try to compensate for anything, take it as is and just go through the motions as if nothing was wrong with your voice. But you do change one thing - you don't push as much, intensity or range wise. Don't vocalize in the portions of your range you're now straining on. But everything else, even if it's flipping like crazy or sounds funky, if it feels fine just ignore the sound and vocalize anyways. Trust that if you continue with the same muscle memory you use when you're in good voice, once you're finally healed the sound being produced will be all fixed.

So if I were you, right now I'd just vocalize as if ignoring the sound and pretending your voice was fine, and being sure to avoid straining or pushing, for maybe 15 minutes a day.

Another good idea is humming, lip rolls, singing through a straw, any kind of semi-occluded phonation, as those are healthier and more therapeutic than, say, open vowels. You could go through your normal vocalizing routine except using those semi-occluded phonations.

Ok cool. Thanks for the advice.

My voice has been pretty funky sounding/pitchy, so I'll just lay off from that part of my voice

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I'm just recovering from a cold myself. It started a week ago and by Sunday my folds were inflamed and my voice was really low. The cold is completely gone but my voice is still slightly low. I've been vocalizing yesterday and today - my head voice is still not functioning properly. You can keep testing day by day, but if you have any inflammation down there it's just not going to work right until its all gone. Three weeks seems excessive although i'm sure it's possible. I'd wait it out and just test it daily to see where you are at. I'm not sure trying to "make" it work is a good idea...it may make it worse.

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Hey yall, so I was sick with a sore throat and a tiny bit of laryngitis three weeks ago. My speaking voice was half gone during this time, and my head voice was completely gone. So I decided to take it easy and rest my voice until I got it back.

A week later after that, my speaking voice was 100% back, and a tiny bit of my head voice was back. So, ok I thought, a little more rest would do. Fast forward to now, I have like half of my head voice back, but the upper ranges are still "shut" or "squeaky" (Air is coming through the cords, but there is not much adduction happening).

Should I rest more? Or should I try to smooth out the upper parts with vocalizing? It's been kinda hard not doing much singing these past 3 weeks.

Here's what worked for me. I gave myself a case of partial laryngitis with symptoms just exactly like how you described yours. Twice. Never mind why twice, that is another story.

Anyway, I would spend two weeks talking only when spoken to, never in elevated volume. After two weeks, I would do a few ten minute sessions each day, of soft, kind of falsetto, descending slides. Start high and light and descend, only. This brought back the fine control.

And if you can pinpoint a behavior of yours that brought this on, try to minimize or eliminate that factor or behavior. Your voice will come back. It just takes time and a gentle touch.

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Ok cool. Thanks for the advice.

My voice has been pretty funky sounding/pitchy, so I'll just lay off from that part of my voice

First of all I trust Bob, he's been to ENT's and stuff so he's heard it directly from doctors. If this is legitimate laryngitis you might want to just completely rest.

Otherwise, for less severe stuff like mild swelling, you don't have to entirely avoid the funky-off-pitch spots of your voice and probably shouldn't (as long as you aren't straining on them). You just have to be very careful, to not go there too much. As long as you rest it for the other 23+ hours of the day, and don't hurt it in that portion of an hour you do vocalize, you will continue healing. You may heal faster if you just completely rest, but then you may be rusty on technique once you've recovered, so that's why it's a good idea to do a tad of vocalizing through the healing process.

And then it's important that if and when you do vocalize to go through the trouble area in a specific way. Another way of explaining what I mentioned earlier - when you're doing some therapeutic vocalizing and get to those iffy spots, pretend you are deaf and have no knowledge of your vocal condition and that you are just spitting out old muscle memory as if you were in good voice. Do that and you'll notice the sound and feeling that ACTUALLY happens will be totally funky because of the damage, but that is fine and healthier than trying to alter it and make it sound good. That mentality of not trying to fix the screwed up sound of a damage voice it will prevent further damage. That and avoiding strain or pushing.

Again, vocalize on semi-occluded phonations wherever possible - that's the real therapeutic part.

Here's an even safer option, just sit there and "vocalize" mentally. Just think about how it is supposed to feel and that will do a little bit to help maintaining muscle memory too. You can do that any time during the healing process

To be clear, I am not an expert at this - all I have is some slight experience with vocal swelling and singing while sick, and some great vocal teachers have guided me through it, and some reading about it here and there. That's the full extent of my knowledge on this, so if you don't feel comfortable trusting what I wrote, please don't!

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The doc (just regular doc, not an ENT) told me when I was sick that I had slight laryngitis. It's pretty much all gone now, but my head voice and voice in general is a little bit funky.

I'll just probably take it easy for a couple more weeks or two

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I JUST went through this. Every few years, I get some kind of chest thing. Usually it's from a band member that shows up at a gig and waits a half hour to tell me that they've got some kind of throat or cold issue. Thanks dude. :rolleyes: Or it's from using gear at a club that insists you use their gear (NEVER DO THIS IF YOU CAN AVOID IT. ALWAYS USE YOUR OWN MIC). Chest colds for me are the worst and I've had to cancel shows because of them (stressful) in the past.

*Anybody seem to notice that we no longer get minor colds but get these things that just last and last and almost always go into the chest? Used to be that you'd get a runny nose, no big deal... now it's like it's something from Contagion or something....

This year, I actually got laryngitis, which I've really not had since I was a kid. I got it right around March 2nd, the day after a gig with a sick band member (it's now April 21st) and I'm STILL feeling the effects of it.

I lost my voice that Sunday (March 2nd) and had 2 gigs later that week. I hit the ENT up as soon as I could and got antibiotics and 'roids (oral). For the first gig, my voice was pretty well gone. Lower notes were there but not the upper chest stuff (this is always where my problem is), then it just went out and I was Brian Johnson the rest of the night. LUCKILY that band has two lead vocalists, so I had help, but yeah it was a real drag. By the second gig of the week, I had more voice, but it was still in and out and my higher chest range was still just just crap.

By March 22nd, I was able to do my normal dance band gig where it's just me singing all the tunes. It wasn't perfect, but I got through it (michael jackson, gaga, queen, 80s, etc.). I thought I'd be fine from then on.

Not so fast- the weeks since then, I've had times in my shows (9 shows since March 1st) where my voice would just fail for certain songs. There's nothing I could do but try and get through them. One thing I noticed- STRESS made the problem worse. Stress about my voice or stress about the gig in general. If I relaxed, it was much better but still very "tight-ropey". When I get this stuff, I freak out (or course) but I also kind of go in my head and go "What am I doing here? How did I just do that last song?" and it CAN be a learning opportunity for what to do and what not to do with your voice. I don't advise it, but hey, what else can you do? I got shows that I gotta do, I gotta find some what to make it work.

April 11th was the last show for a few weeks. It seemed I was going to be fine, but again, the voice went out at different parts of the show. Just came in and out, sometimes working great, sometimes Brian Johnson. I'm not a screamer, though I am a belter (which I'm really trying to fix!) but the way I got through it was by just laying back and GETTING OUT OF THE WAY. I have a tendency to tighten muscles in my throat. You do this and you're screwed. When I don't do it, my voice isn't as powerful as I'd like, but it's there.

So now, I've got a few weeks off from shows but still have some rehearsals and recording stuff. This week, I had a recording project to do and just said "F'this" and got back on the steroids. I was able to get through the thing and my voice feels fine now. I was scoped and there aren't nodes or anything, just some slight swelling from whatever I had (and probably from what I had to get through). It'd be great to be able to cancel shows, but that would've been 9 shows taken out of my calendar. Not good for a lot of reasons.

Funny enough, even after the shows where I lost the voice, my falsetto seemed to be okay. Only the first show had difficulties with that, for the rest of them, that part was working great.

Also, after I got really sick about 2 years ago, I tried to instill a "quit shaking hands" rule. This year, I got lazy about it... well, because it seems standoffish. Part of being a front guy is schmoozing (which I'm not good at) so I relaxed. No sooner did I do that, then I got sick. I am now HAND SANITIZER NAZI. I carry that crap with me EVERYWHERE and will continue to do that from now on.

Anyway, I've gone on here, but it's mostly just to say that "yeah, this stuff happens, it sucks, but you have to do what you can to get through it". Steam helps, water helps, sorry to say this, but a stiff drink also helped on more than one occasion because of nerves from it ("I don't think I can do this! what if I suck? what if I lose the gig for the band(s)??, etc."). You have to relax if you can.

One thing that sucked big for me- I was getting some help with technique during this period from a forum member and it seemed to be sticking with me- then I got sick and I just lost all confidence and need to start over again when I feel better. Nothing like trying to learn new stuff when your voice isn't at "ground zero".

My confidence also takes a hit when I get this stuff. ("will my voice come back? have I damaged it permanently? do I suck even more than I already think I do?")- that's usually the worst of it for me.

It ALWAYS comes back, but it can take a while.

Sorry if I rambled.

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