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Update on vocal problems

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StephanyM
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Hi everyone!

I hope you remember my post from a while ago in which I told you about my vocal problems because of my job (teacher) which is seriously affecting my speaking and singing voice. So I finally went to an ENT who specializes in voice users and she did a more thorough scope than last time, and we found out a few things. First of all, my cords are very healthy and strong-looking. There are no signs whatsoever of nodules or even swelling, so yay!!!! However, she said that the back of my larynx is very swollen and suspects reflux. The other problem, which I was able to see once she played the video back, is that sometimes my cords vibrate very irregularly, and not quite often do they vibrate the way they should. It's like the cords were flopping madly, with no fixed pattern and then suddenly I did something (no idea what) and they started vibrating correctly and evenly. So she said it's only lack of correct technique.

She referred me to a speech therapist, but for financial reasons, I won't be able to afford therapy for now. My husband might lose his job because the company is going through a crisis and might even declare bankrupcy, so it would mean just my income. Not enough to afford speech therapy once every week, and my insurance won't cover it.

So until I can afford therapy, which might not be any time soon (I've also stopped doing Skype lessons with my teacher because of the same financial reasons), could anyone point me in the right direction? I've been reading the forum and I've been singing for a long time, but honestly, with no technique, so I obviously need to unlearn the bad habits. I saw on a previous post that someone recommended The Voice Book, so I might go ahead and purchase it. By reading the reviews on amazon, a lot of speech therapists recommend that book, and seeing as I don't have many options now, I might go ahead and purchase it and see if I can work on technique by myself... Any comments? Thanks!!!

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Good luck, and I know it stinks about the lack of insurance. And even govt health insurance won't pay as being able to talk, let alone sing, is not seen as a dire necessity. So, I'm trying to figure it out. The doc diagnosed acid reflux, did she give you anything for it or is it just the therapy that will fix things.

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Hi Ron, yes, she gave me something for the reflux as well as for the phlegm (forgot to mention I also have too much phlegm) and recommended that I see a gastroentherologist (is that what they're called?) so that I can have an accurate diagnosis of the reflux. I already feel some slight improvement and it's been 2 days since I started taking the medication, so that's good.

Now, I know I will not improve unless I do something about my technique, and yes, my government insurance will not cover the speech therapist. It wouldn't even cover the laryngoscopy so I had to pay for that myself, and it was not cheap. But at least I got to see with my own eyes that my cords look fine so my problem is technical, and reflux.

Have you heard of the book I mentioned? I can't remember the author (Kat something I think). I fully understand that working on my own with a book is not ideal, but until we find out what's going on with my husband's job (they might close the company down after Christmas it seems) I cannot risk spending more than what's strictly necessary.

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I might have heard of that book and it sounds familiar but I don't know, I've read so many. I have the vocal folds of destiny and have not needed voice therapy since the time I injured myself from being a stone cold, blithering idiot.

Having vocal folds of destiny means that I have had to learn and develope what I have, rather than impede it. That took some doing but I can be a fast learner, at times. So, one of things I did to recover from my self-induced partial laryngitis was soft descending sirens in head voice. It brought back the finer muscle control.

I may be an unskilled singer not doing much with my voice and avoiding undue strain, but I have learned to respect the voice.

I totally understand the economics of your situation. And I can't help you there. I understand some things about business. I am manager for a small business and we fight tooth and nail, sometimes, just to get the money owed us. And we only have business when others desire the services and products we provide. And we don't have benefits packages, per se. The money is just not there. The market is tight.

Someone who can lead you in some good directions is fellow member Joanna. She is the reigning vocal health expert and has some published, as well.

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I had reflux (or what they call LPR when it affects the larynx). I frequently went to be with too much food in my stomach. Once I changed that (plus prilosec for a few weeks) it went away.

To get good cord closure I would recommend doing semi-occludeds every day as the first exercises (warmups). These are the easiest on the folds and they may help your folds get back to normal vibrations. there are a few to pick from - the ones I use every day are the lip rolls and "ng". I also do these in the car on my way to work and they help my speaking voice at work.

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