I’ve injured my voice, now what?
Some tips to help with vocal health recovery.
Just like muscular injuries in sports people and dancers, vocal injuries are also common in singers. When you’re using your voice so much, even with the best intentions, it’s almost inevitable that you will experience some sort of vocal health issue at some point in your life.
When you sing for a living, or even if it’s a passion you don’t get paid for, a problem with your voice can feel like the wind has been knocked out of your sail. When something that brings you so much joy, or is your way of relieving stress starts to be painful, it can be really difficult to deal with.
However, there are ways to deal with this rationally and get you back to feeling good again as soon as possible.
If you feel like something isn’t quite right; you’re experiencing hoarseness or you feel vocally fatigued constantly, speak to your singing teacher. Don’t try to hide it or cover it up, as the sooner somebody else knows about it, the sooner you can get strategies in place to improve things for you.
Many of the recommended Sing Space coaches are Vocal Health First Aiders and will be able to give you exercises and pointers, as well as referring you to medical professionals when you need it.
Do the exercises religiously
There are a huge range of vocal injuries, so it would be impossible to go into every exercise to help every kind of issue in this article, but once you have spoken to ENT doctors or speech and language therapists, make sure you do what they’ve asked you to do.
Speaking from personal experience, it was only when I started doing my exercises three times a day, every day that I noticed my muscle tension dysphonia symptoms easing up to the point I felt like I had my voice back and could enjoy singing again.
Before that, I dipped in and out, and I would take one step forward, then three steps back.
Pick your rep carefully
When you’re injured you may not be able to sing what you had been singing previously, as that may cause discomfort. Really learn to listen to your body and sing what feels good. If keys need to be changed, do it, if you need to sing in a different choir section for a while, change it up.
Vocal rest doesn’t always mean being completely silent, but it does mean not overloading the voice and building it back to full health slowly.
If you were a dancer, you wouldn’t come straight back from injury and expect to be able to dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Recovery doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes it can be so frustrating because you just want to sing your little heart out again without that nagging feeling that it might hurt or you don’t want to damage anything.
Try to prioritise your sleep, hydration and your speech and language exercises and you will hopefully see improvement over time.
Chat about it
Celebrities are getting much better at talking about their vocal health (thank goodness!) Check out Jessie J’s instagram!
This is something that happens to so many people and you may find that if you talk about what’s going on with you, there will be a whole host of other singers who are going through or have gone through the same or similar.
The more we can normalise injury and talk about it, the easier it feels to deal with.