How Your Voice Really Works – The Voice Club

Have you ever wondered how your voice works?  If not, you’r not alone.
But I bet you have asked questions like ‘can I get better or is this the best my voice gets?’ or ‘am I just not talented enough?’

The top reason most singers don’t get better is because they’ve never entertained a question beyond ‘why me?’  The real question is, ‘how is my voice supposed to work and is there anything in the way of it doing it’s best?’
If you’ve ever felt there were concrete limits on what your voice can do, stop.  Just for a few minutes.  Watch this video. It will help give you the perspective to ask te questions that result in seeing beyond your limitations to the possibilities.


02-When Your Voice Won't Work – The Voice Club

Some vocal problems sneak up on you overtime until you realize you’ve lost partial or full use of your voice in some vocal activities.
This was the case for Htein Lin Aung.  It’s also the case for many singers, including a high level broadway singer I worked with.  There is a reason it happens.  There is also hope for repairing the damage that is the underlying cause for chronic hoarseness, cracking voice or laryngitis.

Htein Lin Aung asked:

I’m a person with frequent laryngitis because I have asthma as a natural gift so I cough one third of the year, especially in the winter.  Now I suffer from acute Laryngitis.  I cannot sing anymore.  Can you give me any advice?

And I answered by sharing details about:

  • My own experience with the damage of my voice and how I came back from the medical opinion that I would never speak or sing again.
  • What causes Laryngitis and other similar issues that can greatly impact the voice
  • How to know when it’s time to see a doctor and what you should be asking them
  • The difference between ENT’s, speech therapists and a trained vocal repair specialit
  • PLUS, a vocal exercise you can use to both assess the weak points in your voice and start gently getting the vocal muscles to move toward better vocal cord closure so you can start doing something to benefit your voice.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.
My vocal damage story in song:

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Stop! You're Killing Your Voice – The Voice Club

Stop You're killing your voiceHow to Know if You’ve Gone Too Far

If there’s one question I hear all the time, it’s ‘how do I know if I’ve done something damaging to my voice?’ which always makes me think of something someone once told me about child rearing. “It only takes one time to touch a hot stove before they know better.”

Unfortunately I wasn’t that bright in my younger years as a singer. So let’s take that analogy a bit further.

These are the tell tale signs that you’re taking your voice down a dangerous road.   (If you have medical concerns about your voice please see a highly recommended ear, nose and throat physician/ENT/Otolaryngologist.)



Pain is our body’s way of saying, ‘hey, knock that off!’ It is NOT a signal that you just had an intense performance. It means you are requiring things of your voice that will damage it.

Singing should not be painful, even if you’re a rock star.  A qualified vocal coach trained in vocal repair can help remove the pain without sacrificing your ‘signature sound’.



Ever scream at a huge sporting event and find your throat is sore the next day? Probably no shocker. Yet we seem surprised when the same thing happens after singing.

Hoarseness is another red flag that tells us your voice is not in balance and is being utilized incorrectly. Hoarseness can also be a symptom of vocal cord polyps, granulomas (a growth caused by acid reflux and accompanied by ear and throat pain) and other medical conditions.


Loss of Voice

This is another way your voice protects itself from damage, it says ‘I’ve had enough, thank you.’

We’ve all had times when we’ve had an adrenaline packed performance and required more of our voices than we should, but if you are losing your voice for any length of time after you sing you are heading down a road that could lead to nodes, cysts and surgery (oh my).


Absent Notes

Almost every voice that is out of balance will have weak or unreliable ‘sections’ and notes that can be in the same general area.  But if you find that you have specific notes in your range that are consistently weak (‘honking’) or missing (‘airy’) all of the time take it seriously.  This is a classic sign that you’ve damaged your voice.

Nodes or cysts are like blisters on the vocal cords. Wherever they develop the cords have trouble coming together. Once the problem is diagnosed and fixed either with vocal repair training and/or medical intervention, those notes will most likely return.


Why Voices Get Damaged

There are many incredibly talented people who misuse their voices, many times unknowingly.  And many times they can get by without audible damage for a long time.  But misusing the voice leads to a shorter life for your voice at best, and the loss of your voice at the other end.

A good ENT or Otolaryngologist who has worked a lot with singers will suggest working with a qualified vocal coach to reduce strain, prevent further damage and/or repair any damage that does not require surgery.

If you’d like to find out what’s causing your voice pain or strain check out our Vocal Repair Clinic.  We’ll help answer your specific questions, give you some helpful tips and help stop the pain.

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