Here is my problemÖin point form so I can at least try and avoid babbling on forever like I normally do (and which probably explains why nobody ever answers my queries!)
1. I love to sing and am not bad at it, have never had any lessons but have been singing basically since I was 10 most days for about 2 hours per day. Often I would not sing for weeks or months on end though at all for whatever reason. This singing consists of singing along to my various CDs.
2. Lately I find that when I try and sing I feel weird and incompetent like my voice just wonít do what I want it to do. Not in terms of hitting notes or high or deep tones or whatever, but just in terms of the clearness of the voice and the volume and strength. Itís like I have no power in my voice at all anymore.
3. I notice this particularly when I try to belt out songs from people like Stevie Nicks (who I LOVE by the way, hence my username, heheh) and I also find when I try and get the slight coarseness and roughness in my voice like she has, that my voice will have even less power than ever!
4. Also, I have had an ongoing problem for the past 8 years or so, in which if I sing at a loudish sort of level on a note thatís not low, within seconds my voice will often literally cut out completely, and itíll feel like my vocal cords are collapsing on each other and I have to cough as my throat feels like itís full of sandpaper or something. Very annoying. This happened for the first time 8 years ago because I sang for 4 hours straight at the top of my lungs (I had the music on so loud I couldnít even hear the phone ringing right next to me and I was singing louder than that volume of music to hear myself over it) and felt my voice going but kept singing, and then ever since itís done the cutting out permanently.
5. Lastly, I find my nose feels blocked often. Not cold blocked, but just like itís shrunk inside. And this affects my voice also, which I donít like.
Does anyone have any ideas what is causing mainly point 4? The voice cutting out? Is it nodes?? I hope not!
Re: Vocal/throat problems...any singers out there?
Sounds like Ashlee Simpson disease - Acid Reflux, affecting your larynx. Can cause your voice to "cut out" as you mentioned.
The best known form of acid reflux is GERD - which causes heartburn, which is a sensation of burning near your heart/lungs, which is actually the burning from acid that has flowed up your esophogous. There is a 2nd form of reflux, called LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux) which occurs when the acid goes up even higher, out of your esophogous and into your throat. Heartburn is usually not a symptom of LPR, but the most typical symptoms are one or more of the following: hoarsemess (voice problems), frequent throat clearing, cough, sinsusitis-like symptoms (ex: stuffiness), and asthma-like symptoms.
Doctors aren't exactly sure why the acid gets into the throat but they theorize that the upper esophogeal spinchter muscle has weakened, letting the acid in. Gerd, on the other hand, is caused by a weakening of the lower esophogoeal spinchter muscle. So the question is, why do LPR patients not have heartburn? Doctors have theorized that much less acid is getting into the esophogous because the Lower E.S. is pretty much intact but the acid rises more swiftly up the esophogous and into the throat, doing less damage int the esophogous. Another more current theory states that LPR is a dysfunction of the larynx itself - which may be producing acid on its own directly in the throat.
Hopsitals in artistic hubs Columbia-Presbyterian in NYC have entire divisions of their ENT programs devoted to voice-related disorders due to the high population of singers in those areas. Columbia-Presbyterian's is called "The Voice and Swallowing Center".
Most ENTs understand that acid reflux causes these problems, but don't know how to treat LPR specifically. The most knowledgable doctors at in university teaching hospitals in metropolitan areas. The local yokals usually have no clue. Treatment is simply 2 doses of a Proton-Pump-Inhibitor per day. The problem usually doens't go away, but is effectively managed with medication.
The 4 prescription PPIs are Nexium, Aciphex, Prevacid and Protonix. Skip the Protonix, it doesn't work for LPR.
There is an OTC PPI called "Prilosec". Skip that too, it also has a bad rep for LPR.
Nexium and Aciphex are the most frequently sucessful LPR medications. 2 doses, taken at the same time each day. The doses should be taken together not separate.
There is a lot of information about LPR at the GERD message board. Check it out. Most of the posters actually have LPR, but we don't have our own board.