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Some Questions on Vocal Damage?

Hey folks,

I've been gigging and doing three hour sets, often twice every weekend for the last six months, usually doing 60's/70's rock stuff and belting over a loud band without sufficient monitoring. I've been finding my voice becoming increasingly inconsistent, often sounding hoarse within three or four songs which, for me, is very, very unusual. I've been singing for a long time and gigged with rock/metal bands regularly for years doing demanding vocals, even doing really extreme extended technique stuff with screams and non-verbal/scat-type stuff so I know my stamina is usually pretty good. It's only since playing with this band that I've found myself really starting to struggle through sets and also finding that it's taking me several days to regain any sort of ability to sing, so I'm concerned that I've damaged my voice now.

I know the whole monitoring and volume situation is a major factor, so I've addressed that with them and made some progress at last nights gig. My concern is that the damage has been done already 'cause, although I've gone at it hard vocally in the past, I was finally starting to properly use my voice which I think may now be exposing many of the problems I'd been hiding via bad technique in the past. After the gig last night (basically lost reliable access to my head voice after three songs and ended up sounding like Tom Waits by the time I got to the second set of the night), I'm thinking that I need to take an extended break from singing and seek some medical advice as I don't want to lose my voice completely, which is where I feel I'm heading unless I address it now.

Has anyone here experienced similar?

Would vocal nodes or polyps cause these sorts of issues? I suspect that this may be the issue and was probably caused by years of vocal abuse.

I know that speaking to a doctor or getting referred to a specialist is probably going to be the best thing to do, but do you think it would be more sensible to just cancel any upcoming vocal work for the next few weeks as a precautionary measure? I've got gigs booked every weekend throughout the year, but to be honest I would rather cancel every single one if it's going to be so potentially detrimental to my long-term vocal health.

- Tommy

Comments

  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,692Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @TommyM,

    You are right to be protective of your voice. When we blow our voices out from oversinging, even when it's just a temporary setback, we are doing something to our voices that we should avoid as much as possible. Doing that too much can lead right to the things that you are concerned about.

    If you're having problems with oversinging, you need to resolve that condition. Your voice doesn't have a volume knob. Amplifiers do. Knobs can be turned in more than one direction.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 9,692Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Yes, nodes or polyps could cause that, but lots of other things can cause that, as well. The most common thing is just simply swelling on your cords. And if you keep aggravating the swelling , it won't go away. And it can become chronic. But that's mostly from oversinging, or from other abusive things being done to your cords. If you can stop doing whatever is causing the damage, that's important.

    Normally your cords can be rehabilitated, once you stop aggravating the problem.
  • Thanks Bob, that's actually very reassuring as I think I've just allowed myself to get overly paranoid about it. I have a lot of issues with the band overall and I think I'm probably blowing it all out of proportion in my mind, maybe subconsciously to justify me wanting to leave them.
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