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Singing with allergies, even possible?

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Sun
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So for at least a year my voice has been and remains "out of order". I have tested positive for dust mite allergies, basically my symptoms are some chronic sinus drainage and a dry-as-beef-jerky voice. I've been scoped by an ENT who said my vocal folds look normal (I also have asked to see an ENT again, for what it's worth since the ENT doc I was visiting now basically gave up on trying to solve my allergies).

So far no allergy medication, neti-pot sinus flush, guafenesin etc has really solved anything. Nor has dust mite covers on my bed, so next step is to try sleeping on an air matrass and buying an air purifier.

What boggles my mind is, how can other dust-mite allergic singers sing? Or is allergies even my problem? Either I've managed to royally screw my voice or it's just so irritated from the allergies that it makes singing too difficult.

My voice is basically dry feeling, slightly raspy and leaks air but I don't have nodules or abuse my voice. It's not painful or straining to sing either it just limited in function.

Thoughts?

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Another possibility I'll leave you to investigate: Silent GERD

Mine broke its silence with full-blown daily heartburn some months back, and since I've been working at managing it a lot of my sinus/congestion/scratch throat issues have been greatly relieved.

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I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for you to be unable to sing at your best for so long. I wish you the best luck in recovering from whatever this is.

The only idea I could add is, are you staying hydrated enough? Have you tried just drinking tons of warm water and steaming your voice and whatnot, to see if that makes it less dry?

Other than that, I don't know enough about this stuff to be of any help...

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i have them two.....

you have to tell yourself you are going to manage this.......it's part of being a singer.

do not take meds to dry you up......this will contribute to more dryness and possible nose bleeds.

lots of water....repeat......lots of water to stay hydrated.......watch what you eat...no foods and beverages that tend to dry you..like alcohol and coffee.....

you want that post nasal drainage thinned...... so it doesn't wrap around your folds and fold muscles like a worm.

your phlegm and mucus can't be allowed to get thick. if you allow it to get thick it literally makes singing very unstable.....particularly pitch instable.

this condition contributed to several embarrassing performances. water, water, water.

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i would say if the dr says your fine go with that or see another and then put it out of your mind. if you keep dwelling on it it will get worse. you can take allergy medicines that won't dry you out.you will have to do a process of elimination(allegra,sudafed,claritin,nasonex etc.) find one that works for you. up your water as we all should, and get your technique in order so even allergies won't mess with you too much.

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Another possibility I'll leave you to investigate: Silent GERD

Mine broke its silence with full-blown daily heartburn some months back, and since I've been working at managing it a lot of my sinus/congestion/scratch throat issues have been greatly relieved.

I have read about this and I tried reflux treatment. Omeprazole twice daily for 2 months I think, with bed elevated and not eating after 7pm at night. No difference. Also tried cutting out wheat and dairy.

Does it affect your larynx Sun? Difficult on the high notes or Darth Vader voice the whole day?

Speaking voice is fine. Singing voice gets weaker and leakier as I ascend in pitch, can't really sing anything high. I am confident that it is not technique issues.

Falsetto still works, although it gets quite leaky up high, hard to sustain high notes in falsetto takes too much effort there around C5-E5.

Hooty soprano-esque falsetto is pretty much gone, can make squeaky sounds here up to maybe G5 but not comfortable, nor does it sound good. Used to have a strong light resonant soprano sound up to D6 I think.

I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for you to be unable to sing at your best for so long. I wish you the best luck in recovering from whatever this is.

The only idea I could add is, are you staying hydrated enough? Have you tried just drinking tons of warm water and steaming your voice and whatnot, to see if that makes it less dry?

Yes of course, doesn't fix things.

Something I read about but don't know too much about, muscle tension dysphonia? Is it possible that I would have this? I have a history of voice overuse but that was a long while back.

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Go see an ND instead of an ENT. ND's have more training than MD's. They always get to the root of the problem as opposed to prescribing some drug to mask the problem.

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Sun, why are you so sure this isn't technique?

Having trouble hitting high notes and leaking air is a common example of unrefined technique.

For me, I know it's not technique related when I've been singing great consistently (weeks, months with no bad days) and then I get one bad day and then more bad days exactly the same - and there's this sense that your voice instantly changed its function and what used to work no longer does - was that your experience?

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Sun, why are you so sure this isn't technique?

Having trouble hitting high notes and leaking air is a common example of unrefined technique.

For me, I know it's not technique related when I've been singing great consistently (weeks, months with no bad days) and then I get one bad day and then more bad days exactly the same - and there's this sense that your voice instantly changed its function and what used to work no longer does - was that your experience?

Because months of exercising patiently has not helped and the singing I can do feels right and well.

Plus it affects notes which are not hard for me to sing, I can control them very well but I can feel my voice is not behaving quite as it should

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Because months of exercising patiently has not helped and the singing I can do feels right and well.

Are you exercising under the instruction of a coach? Last time I checked you weren't. I also never felt my voice improved without before consulting great coaches to train in real time one on one.

It's still good to be careful - if your body is giving you signals that it's damage you're probably right, but try to really check - figure out if you're just using it as a cop out or if you're simply training incorrectly. Chances are very high that if you have never checked in with a coach to check out what you are doing specifically, you are likely training incorrectly and if you go down that road your technique just won't improve, or it will improve so slowly that you start to think something is wrong.

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Are you exercising under the instruction of a coach?

Yes, you are right though I didn't take lessons before.

But for the past year I have still exercised as prescribed by said coach and my voice technique has never been better, but my voice has.

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Sun, I think that if it was MTD you would not be speaking well and the ENT would have noticed.

I can relate to what you are describing. I have all the kinds of airway problems you can imagine, allergies, synusitis, bronchitis...

To me when the sinus get clogged it feels like the resonance is "not there", dont know if it makes sense. You do everything right, but its like it simply gets muddy or dont "kick" in...

I am lucky because usually the symptoms are mild... There are some exercises I do on warm ups for mobility of the soft palate that helps me a lot to clean up all the crap, its not exactly fun, but maybe it can help... I have you on skype right? Whats your nick again?

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Sun, I think that if it was MTD you would not be speaking well and the ENT would have noticed.

I can relate to what you are describing. I have all the kinds of airway problems you can imagine, allergies, synusitis, bronchitis...

To me when the sinus get clogged it feels like the resonance is "not there", dont know if it makes sense. You do everything right, but its like it simply gets muddy or dont "kick" in...

I am lucky because usually the symptoms are mild... There are some exercises I do on warm ups for mobility of the soft palate that helps me a lot to clean up all the crap, its not exactly fun, but maybe it can help... I have you on skype right? Whats your nick again?

I sent you a chat message on skype, we could chat there

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prescribed steroid sprays help, then theres a relatively new surgery where they send a balloon up your nose and slightly fracture it and open up your sinuses. i don't know the details but it goes something like that.

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I have similar issues, especially in the winter where the dry air contributes to shi**yvoice. It's MADDENING and has been an issue with me forever. One thing to try is a Himalayan Salt Inhaler. Many people swear that it helps their allergies and lungs (asthma folks). I've only just started with it. Not sure I see improvement yet, but I'm willing to give it a go. Also, make sure you're doing the nettipot thing. It's a drag, but it REALLY helps. Get the stuff for your mattress so that's all wrapped up. Get an air cleaner for your bedroom as well. (I've got all this crap).

Finally, your OUTLOOK (or mine anyway) has a lot to do with it. I tend to be SUPER negative about my voice. I think it stinks. It's definitely not perfect, but when I have these kinds of issues, it REALLY gets in my head and that can mess me up more than anything. I tend to start focusing on what I can't do instead of what I can do and thinking I suck, when it's more "just not great". Not saying "it's all in your head". I'm just saying, make sure that you're not contributing to it with a negative attitude if you can. For me, I'd love to take the months off between October and March because that's when I have my most major issues. Can't do it. Gotta work. Good luck!

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Here is a sample of my voice right now, a few hours after waking up, doing a little warmup and working out. Still very phlegmy:

https://app.box.com/s/un6c6ipvwzupal4kmyjx

It gets clearer later in the day but by then it's bed time and the cycle repeats itself. The stuff in the clip wasn't really hard to sing but practising bridging with this kind of voice disturbance is just not working very well for me. It's like trying to learn how to ride a bike while some idiot keeps pushing you.

I think I'm gonna try getting an air filter and perhaps an air matress or something to reduce dust mite exposure. I have the allergy barriers for my bed but obviously they are not enough.

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