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Hoarseness disappears when singing

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Hi all.  This past year I've developed a nasty hoarseness in my speaking voice, which seriously affects my singing. The cause is unknown at this time, though I'm going to be seeing a specialist about it soon. There are a few things that could be causing it, but I'm waiting for the doctor's word on it.  But in the meantime....

I'm very curious about something.  When I sing a few songs, whether in performance or at home while practicing, the hoarseness goes away.  The first few minutes are usually not the best, but after about 10-15 minutes of singing there are little to no issues! For some reason the hoarseness clears up.  Of course it comes back shortly after I stop singing, but that's no surprise.

So, does this rule out growths (polyps) or throat cancer or something serious like that?  I'm thinking (hoping) the hoarseness is related to meds I take for asthma and nasal polyps; or combination of them with the air quality around me.  In fact, I find that an air conditioned venue really lets my voice shine.  So weird.

I fully realize no one here (maybe) is a doctor or authority on medical issues, but just wondering if anyone has any insight on all this?


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  • 3 weeks later...

I am not a doctor or teacher. But I now have the same problem and have determined that when I sing I use better support and airflow and the pitch range sits higher. I have always talked low and soft.....at the very bottom of my singing range. To speak loud enough for others to hear me I use too much air and more cord closure to maintain what I have become used to as my speaking voice. When I remember to speak "Higher" and use good breath support the hoarseness goes away or does not occur.

I speak around G2 to A2. The songs I sing usually sit between D3 and D4.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Everyone I've taught speaks near the bottom of their vocal range and shouts closer to, or just above, their primary bridge. As with singing, when trying to add volume to the lower range, it's easy to overflow the acoustics and cause too much strain on the vocal folds. Also as with singing, using a horizontal embouchure, lifting resonance to the soft palate and out from there, your voice becomes much easier to hear and unwanted tension is taken off of the vocal folds.

Regularly practicing resonant tracking (nasal buzzing consonants like /m/, or rather humming while buzzing the lips) will help both your speaking and singing voice in many ways. For example, it will help you better balance compression with air support, help lift the voice away from the throat, and be very therapeutic for your vocal folds.

Singing is helping your voice for the same reasons. However, it doesn't rule out other possible medical issues. There have been plenty of professional singers who sang for many years with polyps and the like. Asthma meds will dry you out and make it more difficult to get good vocal fold closure. I've experienced that first hand and with a number of my students. A personal steam inhaler, salt inhaler, and drinking plenty of water can all help with that, but only to a point.

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/8/2018 at 1:45 PM, Draven Grey said:

. . . . . . and unwanted tension is taken off of the vocal folds.

This point Draven has made here, I have learned is a real cool added benefit of good embouchure!  Anyone can test this and feel it for themselves! Just sing anything with, and without, good embouchure.  I know that in order to achieve muscle memory on proper embouchure one must exaggerate the movement of the lips/mouth (when training) to a point of feeling strange, gradually the habit will establish and won't feel or look strange to the average person. 

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