If you are a singer, you may have heard about things that can cause your vocal quality to deteriorate. Voice fatigue is a major problem for many professional singers. You might find your voice feeling dry or tired often. You may get sore throats on a regular basis. Vocal fatigue can be caused by several things, so it is important, if you plan to sing often, that you are very careful to take care of your voice properly.
If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, you are at even more risk for reduced vocal quality. As a singer, you may be aware that your larynx is, after all, vital, and gastro-laryngeal and gastro-esophageal acid reflux can damage your esophagus, larynx and vocal chords over time. Not to mention the other health problems that constant reflux can create.
Chronic acid reflux disease can cause you to have halitosis (incurable bad breath), a bitter taste in your mouth, a sore throat or a dry mouth. You might also feel like you have a lump in your throat, excessive amounts of phlegm and feeling like you need to clear your throat on a constant basis. As if that weren’t enough, it can even cause you to lose sleep because of discomfort in your throat and coughing when you are sleeping. So, if you want to protect your vocal quality and take good care of your voice, you should see a doctor at the first signs of a serious reflux problem. Your vocal chords will thank you for it in the long run.
Also, sopranos who speak in a low voice may be at risk for singers’ dysphonia (difficulty producing vocal sounds). Research indicates that speaking in a low voice and singing in a high voice can cause vocal problems. Major changes in pitch like that can affect sub-glottal air pressure, which is the air pressure that builds up below the vocal chords. In turn, that can affect the ability to produce a desired pitch.
Sopranos whose natural speaking voices are quite low compared to their singing voices are sometimes concerned that this disparity may be harmful to their singing careers. Some of these singers are right to be concerned, for singing/speaking pitch disparity may contribute to voice problems. Such major changes can put serious strain on the voice because more effort is needed to control the muscles around the larynx and vocal chords.
Sometimes, the speaking pitch of a soprano is affected by age. Most mezzo-sopranos speak in a range between 230 and 262 Hz. However, those who speak in low pitches tend to speak at around 224 Hz when they are young, 218 Hz when they reach middle age and 214 Hz when they get older.
Another thing that can affect vocal quality, believe it or not, is a woman’s premenstrual period.
If you have any trouble with any of those things, you may want to talk to a voice coach or voice pathologist. They can tell you how to protect your vocal chords and take care of your voice. That way you can keep your voice quality intact for years to come.