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I'm almost always hoarse. Lost range, tone and quality. Can I get it back?

I've have been singing with bands for 20 years, always had a strong voice and did rock and R&B with ease. Several years ago, I was in an accident that caused brain damage. I had extended physical therapy so I was not performing for a couple years. I've been trying to get back into performing but finding my voice just isn't there. Even talking for extended periods makes me hoarse. My tone and vibrato have really deteriorated. Some mornings I even wake up hoarse with a sore throat. I've seen an allergist ("it's sinus"), a GI ("it's reflux"), one neurologist ("it's due to weakness from the TBI") and three ENTs, two who said they don't see anything structurally wrong and one who said my right vocal cord was slightly weak and suggested speech therapy which didn't help.

I am beyond frustrated and really devastated that I can't seem to do something I love and used to do so easily. I haven't been able to get any answers so I don't know how much is age, how much is actual damage from the accident and how much can be regained. Has anyone lost their voice for a long period and been able to regain it? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Comments

  • videoacevideoace Posts: 462Pro
    @allyboo2
    Age should not be a factor at all.
    The brain damage may be what is slowing your progress. Are you ok to sing neurological speaking? Using falsetto (head voice) can put pressures in your head that may not be healthy for you.
    Has the brain damage affected any of your motor skills at all?
  • allyboo2allyboo2 Posts: 3Member
    edited December 2017
    The neurologist says I should be able to sing. They say I have a little residual weakness, but it doesn't really interfere with anything else. Can you compensate for something like this with better vocal technique?
  • videoacevideoace Posts: 462Pro
    My belief is, if there's a will, there's a way.
    Start off super slow until you get back in the swing of things, and stick to light songs would be my suggestion, but definitely make sure from your Dr.s that it's safe for you. I myself with no such injuries get light headed from singing so please, if you do this take every precaution possible to make sure you do it safely. Thats always number one.

    Peace, Tony
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 11,952Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    @allyboo2,

    Certainly knowing all of the right ways to build a strong foundation for your voice would be something you would want to know you are doing correctly. Learning vocal technique also strips away some of the fluff of singing, and exposes weaknesses so that they can be more directly addressed. That could possibly take you to the main elements that are less-developed than they need to be, or expose whatever obstacles are in your path to see if there are ways to compensate and get through them. Certainy, many of the things we learn from Ken's program are strengthening techniques. You may find some of them challenging, but they would probably give you some benchmarks and goals about your general singing condition, and give you a starting place from which to build.

    Maybe our friend @Artickus can speak more directly to some of what you are going through. His injuries were more of a physical nature, but he has made tremendous progress working Ken's exercises.

    I hope that you can recover much of your former capabilities, or in fact, surpass them. Be sure to stay plugged in with your physicians as you delve into this.
  • ArtickusArtickus Posts: 43Pro
    @highmtn Yes, sure I can share some :)

    @allyboo2 Hey there, first of all just relax is is the first rule if you get into such a hard trouble :wink:
    http://forum.kentamplinvocalacademy.com/discussion/7733/vocal-folds-paresis#latest - you can find the information about my fold paresis here. That injury could be caused by neurological issues(like PTSD and after shelling shocks/stuns or maybe infection 1 of my folds was not moving, totally stuck, the muscle that should pull it to the proper state seem not to work at all. This made me feel the tickling in the throat all the time, because of not closing the air dried the chords instantly and it resulted in the same - hoarseness and bad feeling all the time. Not to say about the 0 endurance and only up to 7 notes in my range and ability to sing for 5-7 minutes no more.

    So I'm sure it's not the end of the world - http://forum.kentamplinvocalacademy.com/discussion/6821/overtime-updating-review-starting-the-experience#latest here you will find my vocal covers on Iron Maiden and Dream Evil I did a few months after rehabilitation, so to say the full process of recovery took me a lot, I started warming up my voice on the 4-th month I think and first tried to sing something on 6-th hard to justify the dates but definitely not instant recovery :)

    I would suggest you make the same tests that I did and record it I mean the endoscope that records you doing the sounds - "aaaaa", and "eeeee" constantly and "a-a-a-a" "e-e-e-e" like with stoppages quickly, even if you do not hear the sound you can understand it from the video same as with mine. To see how your folds move, plus to see how it looks like (if the color is good, no visible traumas, etc). My keyboard player is the doctor he was making the phoniatric courses in that treatments/research institute of voice problems so I was lucky he dragged me there. He could have some conclusions for you if you willing to share such footage or can find a specialist in your area.

    In the first place, it does not matter what was the cause trauma, strain, brain damage, but it all comes to neurology because of the complexity of voice mechanism you may need to regain the ability of your muscle propper control - reflex in the throat. I will be able to share with you really a really simple set of exercises like to pull that back as intended if the problem may be in this pulling and muscle weakness.

    The treatment I was going thru was like super easy in terms that if it will not help there are some other ways but which may be damageable for your health in some kind. Like - tranquilizers to fully remove the reflex you have gained in your throat or hormones.

    But if you have something similar get ready to forget everything you knew and learn to sing from 0, it like starting from a clean shit, it has its pros and cons, you can learn a lot more new stuff, but it needs time.

    Let me know if you have any particular questions or descriptions or anything I would be glad to help.

    Cheer! \m/

    And, Hey! Do not lose that spirit, especially if singing makes you happy!


  • ArtickusArtickus Posts: 43Pro
    @allyboo2

    For mere there were few points:

    1. To forget everything I knew (same as you start Ken's course). For that, I also had some pills that help you destroy some neurological connections more in your brain, it's like the treatment for people that have burnouts or really nervous all the time, more of seductive thing, jsut to camp everything, but not heavy pills, like the easy type.
    2. I had to make a set of exercises to put everything back in place and gain some endurance. Most of that principals I also put back on singing. Just imagine that your house was destroyed even with the fundament and all you have is the pit where you put concrete at first, and only after start adding all the upper things making the walls the floors and roof.
    3. While making the exercises I had to take other pills one for better neurological connection the ones that make such connections more steady and developed faster. And another one for better muscle building and muscle regeneration. All the pills I took not smth super crazy, you can get all of them without a recipe in my country.
    4. And only after that I started making the Kens Volume 1 basic workout nothing else, only the audio workout in real slow phase and easy fashion(ofc with all the required vovel modifications), like floody sound not leaning on them. I was doing it for like around 1,5-2 months. The specialist at the research facility told me - "The best treatment is the proper workout and proper singing, do it right and there will be no problem" and they have confirmed for me the principals of Ken's course thru the medical application.
    5. After that small step by small step, I started to sing, leaning on sound a bit more and everything else.

    Before the problem, I had like nearly around 4 octaves of usable range.
    For now, after nearly a year fro the day fo the injury I have around 3,25 maybe 3,5 (3 for sure haha) of somewhat useable range (I mean the range as the whole).

    I still able to hit nearly all the notes I had before, but they are not, yet really usable

    So a lot of work before me. But there is nothing impossible.
    And in a lot of fo places I know that with such injury I had I would at best be told - you will never sing again, or they jsut put some hormones which will help but will not remove the problem and I would have to do those hormones on my throat the whole life. \

    So let me know, if anything, will be glad to assist ;)
  • allyboo2allyboo2 Posts: 3Member
    Wow, thanks everyone for the info. Your story, @Artickus, is really inspiring. I heard your vocals and your increase in range and power is excellent, exactly what I'm hoping to regain. My issues sound almost exactly like yours. My voice would "catch" immediately following the TBI but that issue resolved within a few months. My problems now are significant decrease in range, and I'm only able to sing for 5-10 minutes before I go hoarse. I have been slowly doing Ken's exercises and still get hoarse after a few minutes so I'm not sure if I'm doing them incorrectly or if my vocals are just that weak.
  • ArtickusArtickus Posts: 43Pro
    @allyboo2
    Hey, no problem.

    If it is similar to mine at first you need not sing at all, but do this sets of simple sound exercises I can share them with you, after the new year I'll record a vid at the studio for you.

    Most of the time the hoarseness caused by not closing the folds on time or not closing at all, similar as you saw in the vid of my folds, as well you cannot go higher, because the higher you go the more folds need to be closed and pulled by the muscles in the proper state.

    When you see my vid you can see that 1 fold stands like half closed the required muscle did not pull it bad to the ready state and they close unproperly. When you go higher the air pressure becomes higher and they air just pouring down (like from a balloon with a hole) and it immediately dries out your chords/folds and as well messes up with them under that pressure.

    So if your hoarseness and not ability to go higher is similar to mine I would suggest trying to make the same exercises, as in the first place you need to put everything back in place and only after start working out.
    The first 1,5-2 month I did the workouts I still was doing special exercises before making the actual warm up.
    And still going to the doctor and making the throat endoscope recording also really important, to see what's in place and what is not.

    I have no doubts it possible. I know that in different parts of the world the treatments are different but this system I have gone thru is super natural and have not heard anything like that from abroad, they mostly do hormones or other stuff you are rarely can find some therapist in this field, it so super specialized.

    Cheers and have a happy New Year!
  • rickyogimarickyogima Posts: 35Member
    I'm 45 and my rate of growth is extremely slow but it's coming. There are times I can only practice for 15 minutes or less and then I have to take a break for a day or more. It's hard when I like to sing all the time.
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