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Help - possible nodules!

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oh2theno
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Hi, all.

For quite some time, (maybe several months to a year) I've been dealing with what I believe are vocal nodules. Symptoms have gotten progressively worse in the last five or six months, due to the fact I have been doing a lot of singing without any warm-ups (I got kind of lazy). Now I'm suffering the consequences.

Almost a week ago, I decided to put my voice on vocal rest as much as I can , due to an elevated level of pain. I only speak daily when asked or when necessary (I'm in college at the moment, and I tutor). I do exercises daily to help my voice (vocal fry, lip rolls, GUG, MUM). I have noticed some increase fold closure, but I'm still experiencing a lot of pain and breathiness. It's annoying because I'm slowly caving into the idea that I'll never be able to sing with fully vibrating vocal folds again.

What's odd is that I can still access most of my range. As well, due to improvement in my technique (focused on breathing, raising the soft palate, placement, etc.) Despite the vocal fold damage, I have noticed increase resonance and ease in navigating my voice. I know for sure the culprit is my vocal folds.

I know I haven't been doing EVERYTHING I should (like not listening to music, singing much), but I have given my voice substantial rest.

I would go to an oto-laryncologist but I can't afford one, nor do I have insurance.

What do I do? Anything major suggestions? At this point, with the damage done and an inability to seek medical assistance, I feel like saying (*auto edit*) it and not singing anymore. :(

I'm sorry if this post is slightly unorganized. I'm very busy at the moment.

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You might also want to seek out Joanna, a voice care specialist par excellence. And Videohere, whom we call Bob, who had a polyp and got rid of it without surgery. Granted, polyps and nodules may or may not come from the same causes but I think, in layman's terms, the treatment can be similar.

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Here is a recording a made: http://www.mediafire.com/?u3ue118i379j9uh

Throughout, I felt a sharp pain at my vocal folds. They became more fatigued towards the end; thus my voice became much breathier (affecting my resonance). I also tasted blood (this has happened on several occassions). Also, you can hear how stifled my vibrato is.

Oddly, despite the vocal trauma, my pitch has improved.

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Here is a recording a made: http://www.mediafire.com/?u3ue118i379j9uh

Throughout, I felt a sharp pain at my vocal folds. They became more fatigued towards the end; thus my voice became much breathier (affecting my resonance). I also tasted blood (this has happened on several occassions). Also, you can hear how stifled my vibrato is.

Oddly, despite the vocal trauma, my pitch has improved.

oh2theno: Listening to Memo, I did not hear the characteristic roughness that singing with nodes usually has. However, your comment about sharp pain and tasting blood may indicate another problem entirely, one that must be diagnosed by an ENT.

As a reference, when an ENT recommends vocal rest to a voice user with nodes, its complete vocal silence, especially not whispering, and certainly no singing or talking, usually for 6 weeks or so, followed by a re-evaluation of the status of the nodes. If everything is ok, this would ordinarily be followed with treatment/exercises with a voice therapist to replace the voice habits which produced the nodes with habits that are more healthy.

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@ronws I did send Joanna a message and she responded that she'd try to offer some advice. I'll also try talking with Bob.

@Steven Thank you for the response. I would like to do complete vocal rest, though as I stated before, it's hardly feasible with academic demands. And I saw you italicized "Memo,"--that is just the name my iPhone gave the file. The song is the first verse and chorus of Whitney Houston's "You Give Good Love," in case you didn't know.

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You've already received the best advice. You need the help of a professional voice care specialist or doctor. I am neither one of those. I am an electrician and these days, I am operations manager for an electrical sub-contractor. I can fix a plug, a light, swimming pool filter pumps, but I can't fix a voice.

By now, you will have been advised to see a doctor, especially about the bleeding. You might want to think hard about doing that, rather than waiting for doubtful nostrums from us "armchair experts."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Steven -

6 weeks of absolute rest is considered extreme by the ENTs I work with; and is rarely possible for people with jobs/kids. Very conservative use—no singing, quiet talking <50% of normal amount—combined with careful therapy can usually resolve nodules in about 8 weeks if they are caught early. One of my jobs as therapist is to "negotiate" what works for each person, prioritize usage while reworking technique.

People I've seen whose MDs recommended—or who put themselves on— weeks or months of total rest, can develop a set of secondary problems, the "if I use it, it will break" syndrome.

For sure, patterns of care do vary from place to place, and each MD has the last word in each individual case. I just don't want people to avoid going to an ENT for fear that they'll be told to do something impossible!

regards,

Joanna

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