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Completely lost my ability to sing

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Consumingfire39
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Let me preface this by letting you know that I was already a member of this forum but could not figure out my old login and had to create a new account. Anyways, I got into singing about one year ago and I am a 24-year-old male. I had been singing on a consistent basis for much of that time. I was singing a very wide variety of songs and styles and I was singing in a lot of different registers. I would go from a Josh Turner song to a Steve Perry song and could usually do so without changing the pitch and I never really had problems with getting hoarse or losing my voice at any point in time. My singing ability was far ahead of my technique. I probably have good genetics as my Mom is a world class vocalist. I have never learned how to breath naturally but I never had any sort of problem with overuse or straining. About a month and half ago, I was singing "We Are The Champions" and was hellbent on replicating the exact tone, pitch, and intensity and did end up damaging my voice in some capacity. For the next week or so I could still sing fine in my lower registers and in my head voice, but I was not able to sing in my mixed register. It was not from pain, I just simply could not produce sound in my mixed voice. I stopped vocalizing much for the next week and a half (Still did some) and was just struggling a little bit with that problem.

For the next 3 weeks I was on a business trip in a different city. I was basically talking 8 hours straight, every day, for the entirety of the trip. My throat was hurting throughout this trip and I was staying at a hotel and very rarely vocalizing/singing. I would occasionally try to sing (Without warming up) and was not able to sing at the same level I could a month earlier, but could still at least sing. Even then, I was still struggling right in that mixed register that used to be so easy to do. I did decide to sing extremely challenging songs up in head voice and was really belting out. Over the last two weeks I have been back on a normal routine and not speaking the long hours I was. I have tried to vocalize some during this time but really could not hold notes in certain areas at all or even hit notes consistently. One random day during this time period I was able to sing with my full range and actually probably better than I ever had (Although that might just be from recent comparisons of myself) in my life. Naturally, since I was able to sing, I decided to sing a lot more than I had recently but even then there was no soreness in my throat.

Flash forward to now... Over the last week I not been able to sing almost anything at all. Yesterday I tried to just do simple e and z sounds and it felt ok. I probably did it for 10 minutes total, if that. Today, I cannot sing a note at any pitch and can not even speak very well at all. I feel like I do not even know how to sing or hold a note at all.

I might be coming down with something but even then, even when I have had sinus infections, the flu, colds etc., I was infinitely better than I am not, as again, I am not even able to sing.

I know this is a long post to read. I figured I would give all the details because it might help someone figure out what I did to my voice. I was also having a decently healthy diet and working out regularly up to about 2 months ago. Due to business I have been eating out almost every day and just started working out again (And eating decently) this week. I do have sinusitis and probably have some acid reflux problems but neither one of these problems just started.

My questions are:

What might have I done to my voice?

How severe is this?

What should I do to be able to regain it? Should I vocalize at all and if so, what type?

If it is sickness related, what is the best thing for me to do?

Any advice overall to help me?

Thank you so much for your time in reading this and any help or advice you may be able to offer.

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from your friendly speech-voice pathologist (I too had to re-join forum this fall, for some reason):

SEE THE BEST ENT YOU CAN AFFORD, as soon as possible. Find someone who can perform larynx exam with videostroboscopy, and has worked with singers before. Travel to a bigger city if necessary.

Most likely this is something that is semi-serious for the short term, but fixable over several months. Impossible to guess what the diagnosis would be, but most likely some combination of "bump" or injury along the edge of vocal cords, plus muscle tension/mal-adaptation. Medical exam in this type of situation is super important because no one can guess the type of injury any other way, e.g. by symptoms or sound or feeling. And correct treatment/ therapy depends on a good diagnosis.

Meantime no, don't sing much & certainly don't test your voice on anything difficult. Talk only when necessary; do very gentle vocalize 5 min 1-2x day with attention to technique/process/ease rather than aiming for your best sound; and activate your strongest wellness-support system (good friends & nutrition, stress reduction, prayer, whatever works that's not tobacco or alcohol.) My "First Aid for Hoarseness" book chapter is excerpted (FREE) on book publisher's site. (link is at end of my sig)

Let me know if you need more help finding good care --

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Thank you for the response. Interestingly enough I was able to start singing the next day. My chest and lower register are just as strong as they normally are. I think that I might have had a few of the problems that you mentioned but I think a lot of the problem was done to whatever muscles raise my larynx. When was first learning how to sing, I did not know that I did not want to raise my larynx when changing pitch. I did start trying to work on that about a month before I ran into problems and had a little success. I think, right now, I just have some strained muscles that are preventing me from raising it and this might be a good thing. Just in the last few days I have been able to start getting some range back (Safely) without raising. If I do start raising, my voice cuts out and I cannot sing a note. I definitely need to take it easy and learn the right way to sing. I already like the difference in tone and clarity that I am getting from not raising up and doing it the right way. I should probably also stop trying to completely copy other vocalist as far as tone, twang, etc. I think I have finally found what my voice is supposed to comfortably sound like and it is a lot less work.

Again, thank you for the advice. I think I probably overreacted when I was unable to make a note for two days. I actually stumbled upon my biggest (Likely) problem by reading one of your responses to someone else earlier. I am curious as to what type of diet I should using (Especially in regards to my sinusitus) on a regular basis?

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