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Loss of Range...HELP!

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Hi All, my first post here, I found the site while trying to research my particular problem.

Im a 44 year old singer in rock/pop cover band, weekends only, in the Pensacola area. About 6-7 weeks ago, on a week we were off, I "sensed" my throat did not feel quite right. I didnt try to sing...having had a wonderful performane just days before...and made an appointment with my family doctor. He could find nothing wrong. Upon trying to sing, I could not reach beyond an E above middle C. Now, I never had a large range...I can normally sing Bon Jovi stuff "Wanted Dead or Alive" and thats my normal limit. I really need to get up to an "A" or "Bb" to pull off our show.

So I went to an ENT to check for nodes, ect. The camera went down my nose and he saw no damage to my vocal chords. He said that the back of my throat looked red and the most likely culprit was acid reflux (which surprised me as I have had no symptoms).

I started a regimen of Nexium and general rest, we had to hire a snger for a few weks, (luckily I play guitar too so I still had a job!). I am partially recovered....but not much. I can squeak out an F#...barely. And my other guys can sing a little so we dropped the extra guy.

My question...has anyone experienced anything like this before? My throat is sore almost everyday for 6 weeks, is that common? Sometimes its feels like I've never sang before. Most importantly to me, What can I do to get my range back?

Any advice or thought would be deeply appreciated!

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hi, i'm 55, and i have acid reflux as well. i had no idea what it was but i was relieved to find it's actually quite common among singers because of all the breathing and diaphram use compared to the non-singer.

i, like you, went to the ent because i couldn't sing without gettng raspy figuring nodes too. but the ent diagosed reflux , so every morning i take otc prilosec, watch for too much acid in the diet.

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Treatment for acid reflux is slow; some of my patients don't begin to feel much relief until 8 weeks on the medicine, So don't give up yet. On the other hand, what I hear from expert MDs (GI and laryngology) is, if 6-8 months on medication does nothing, it is most likely a different problem.

other considerations:

- most common symptoms with acid reflux impacting the voice (formally called laryngo-pharyngeal reflux, or LPR) are hoarseness; feeling of lump-in throat or a "thickness" when swallowing; and vocal problems in the midrange. Throat pain is common but not as frequent as the others.

-some throat pain can be referred-pain from tension in the neck muscles (scalenes and SCM to be exact). Got that tidbit from a holistic-minded ENT (Benjamin Asher in NYC). So while waiting for medication to fully kick-on, also consider massage treatment for neck & shoulders especially from someone expert in "trigger points", Shiatsu, or "myofascial release" techniques.

-some of this muscle tension can be caused by the voice trouble, that is, when we start to sound bad, everything tightens up as part of the attempt to compensate. Vicious cycle.

- Ice-cold water or ice chips can be helpful for pain relief, mildly numbing the throat for an instant & distracting the system. (YES its OK for singers to drink icecold stuff, despite all the folklore to the contrary)

-try not to use pain-killing lozenges, unless you really can't sleep due to throat pain or otherwise can't get through the day. The active ingredients (menthol, benzocaine, phenol) in all pain-relief lozenges are actually irritating to the vocal cords, and will make everything worse.

If you don't feel (or sound) any better in another month, go to a specialty voice clinic. I think there is a good team in Gainsville; I can ask around if you want.

feel free to follow-up with me directly if I can be of further help.

best wishes,


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Thanks for your comprehensive reply. Funny coincidence, I went today for a massage before reading your reply. I have also been for acupuncture treatment in the past week. Im trying the holistic approaches before I go that next step with a Laryngologist.

I should have included this next bit initially...I do have use of my falsetto, which seems odd to me. Low to mid range natural voice...a whole where my higher natural voice should be...then full falsetto (although I dont really use my falsetto that much for performance).

Someone asked for a clip of me singing, but I only have one from right before the problem started:


..thats me lead singing in Pensacola with my band Buzzcutt. As you can see, I'm nothing super-duper, but I do love to sing. We are playing tonight in fact, same venue as this vid....we know about 90 songs....but I've lost the ability to do more than half of them. Very disappointing.

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