Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vocal Health

      As a singer it’s important to know about vocal health; the symptoms of a problem, causes of the problem, and information on treatment for the problem. Unhealthy singing can lead to many vocal problems that can affect the quality of the voice as well as the overall health but there are other causes for these problems.

     Some vocal health problems are: nodules, polyps, sores, inflammation, and cancer. Nodules are benign growths on the vocal chords caused by abuse. Polyps are more like blisters than Nodules. There aren’t any pain receptors on your vocal folds you can’t feel the growths. Some symptoms are hoarseness, breathiness, and loss in pitch range.
Nodule:                                                              Polyp:
     Inflammation of the vocal folds can be due to laryngitis. This causes the vocal folds to swell and when they swell they vibrate differently which changes the sound and make it difficult to produce sound. You can also lose your voice if the inflammation is severe enough. Some other causes of laryngitis are vocal abuse, allergies, infections, stomach acids, cigarette smoke, and alcohol.
     Laryngeal cancer is when the tissue around the larynx begins to grow uncontrollably. This cancer is highly curable and is most often caused by cigarette smoke. If this isn’t taken care of right away the cancer can spread to other areas of the neck and the lungs. Some symptoms of this cancer are hoarseness but it really depends on where the growth is taking place.
     It’s important to prevent these vocal disorders, especially for singers because it is their prime instrument. It’s also important to see a specialist and get treatment instead of letting the problems get worse because the damage could be permanent.

Ways to Prevent Vocal Problems: 
-Don’t smoke because the heat from the inhaled smoke burns the vocal folds. The carcinogens from the tar are also dangerous because they poison the tissue. This can also irritate the vocal folds and induce mucus production.
- Don’t drink alcohol, caffeine because this can produce more mucus around the folds.
-Eat a healthy diet, work out and live a healthy lifestyle because it boosts your immune system which prevents vocal problems as well as many other benefits for the entire body.
-Do vocal warm ups before use so that there’s less chance of damage when performing.
     Treatment for Vocal Problems: It depends on what kind of problems have developed. 
-Medical- if you have dryness, allergies, infections
-Therapy-if you have nodules, lesions, and sores. Behavioral Therapies for speech and singing are common
-Surgical-if there are specific growths and cancers that can’t be treated any other way.
     Keeping your voice healthy is important to everyone but especially singers because they are using their mechanism more often and at a higher intensity. Knowledge about the problems in the voice is essential to being healthy because you can recognize the symptoms, know the causes, and get treatment need to regain vocal health.

References:     /Diagnosis_and_Treatment_of_Vocal_Problems_In_Professional_Voice_Users_Part_2_of_.html