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Lost voice due to screaming and singing. Cannot sing high notes. Could I have strained vocal chords beyond repair?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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Hi there, in the beginning of april of 2012, I had lost my voice at a concert from singing and screaming. It was completely lost for a couple weeks and then once I started to get it back, I noticed my singing voice was almost shot. I'm an aspiring singer, so most of my time is spent singing. I have since had to completely drop out of various singing groups and shows. I have my full speaking voice back, but anytime I try to sing, especially falsetto or any high notes what so ever, my voice goes completely quiet to the point of cracking and barely making noise. I'm getting extremely worried because its been a month now and it hasn't improved at all. Is this something that could be permanent or is this something that will eventually go away? Could I have strained something in my vocal chords that is now beyond repair? I am very worried. Any advice would be great, thankyou.
Posted Wed, 23 May 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 5 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. You should undergo a videolaryngoscopy and a stroboscopy. If you can share the images or video, I will be able to give you an accurate assessment of the hoarseness.

2. Loosing your voice off and on seems to be due to chronic laryngitis. The changes associated with chronic laryngitis and acid reflux are easily seen on videolaryngoscopy. Vocal cord edema may be managed by reducing reflux with medication such as proton pump inhibitors and anti-inflammatory medication including a short course of steroids.

3. The type of damage to the vocal cords will determine the time to healing. Untreated edema will lead to scarring, affecting your voice for longer duration.

4. Screaming loudly can give rise to vocal nodules (Siinger's Nodules). This should be ruled out. Reinke's edema should be ruled out. There are many other lesions that must be ruled out. These are easily seen on videolaryngoscopy and stroboscopy.

5. Keep yourself adequately hydrated Get voice rest (no whispering). Avoid exposure to alcohol and tobacco. Laryngeal position and voice range training may be required later. Get the above-mentioned investigations done. Also rule out thyroid hormone imbalance.

6. Kindly let me know the results of your investigations. This will help decide medication and further treatment.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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