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vocal damage - click sound in throat then release in tension

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I've been singing often and casually for a few years. I have pretty bad technique, but I'm trying to learn. I've done a decent amount of research on the basics. I suspect my throat has been damaged over the years. I recently have become aware of an odd sensation in my throat. I've tried to research it, but is difficult to describe.

If I try to "open" my throat to sing I feel an odd click. If I do this while producing a pitch, I suddenly hear the note much louder throughout my head, mostly in the left side of my head, and it feels less strained, almost like something was blocking something and it opened. It is very difficult for me to articulate my throat in a way that maintains this open sound. I imagine some parts of my throat are swollen and blocking something maybe, and that the best solution is to take a break, a month maybe? I'm not sure if its related, but two glands under the corners of my jaw bone also feel swollen. My throat gets sore after about a half hour of singing.

The click feeling seems to release tension and makes it feel like I have more space to produce a better sound, but I can't maintain this open state for long.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Should I focus more on relaxing my throat, or trying to "open" it?


I've done a little more research. Maybe throat tension has caused swelling in my throat and blocked resonant pathways in my head.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree that it's time for an ENT exam. It is tempting for me to guess what's going on, but truly it would be only be a very vague guess.

If "click" is something you feel in jawbone, or if there is sharp pain on outside of your head, that would argue for TMJ-related problem. But there can be a "click" sensation that is deeper inside, eustachian tubes (from ears) opening suddenly when the jaw moves, but closed with congestion/swelling otherwise.

Best to find an ear-nose-throat specialist.

If that MD can't find anything, or gives you medication that doesn't fully help, consider a (gentle) chiropractic adjustment to upper spine. I've seen voice clients whose top vertebrae just get jammed, & then whole upper throat/ears/jaw region feels congested.

Once you start feeling better GET SOME TRAINING! If you're worried about cost of private singing lessons, or about losing some distinctively honest aspect of your sound, try a voice class for actors (community college theater department, for example). You'll get the basics of healthy/efficient sound production in a format that many pop/rock singers appreciate.

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