As a singer, vocal health is extremely important. Taking care of your voice may seem like an obvious task, but if you’re not utilizing proper warm-up or vocal exercising techniques and/or are singing too often, your voice can get fatigued and hoarse.
Even worse, it can lead to more voice problems and long-term vocal damage that could affect your job as a singer. It can feel like the worst thing in the world when you lose your voice.
Singers rely on their voice for their livelihood, so it is difficult when faced with anything that can prevent you from singing. Getting your voice back as soon as possible should become your main focus, and determining the cause of how you lost it so that you don’t do it again.
There are many factors that can go into losing your voice. It can be as simple as having some acid reflux, or a mild sore throat that is causing you pain and now allowing you to sing. The vocal cords might have been strained, or maybe you have bronchitis or laryngitis.
There are some simple home remedies that you can utilize to help get your voice back, however, there are certainly some cases in which you need to seek professional help from a doctor.
Causes Of Voice Loss
The causes of losing your voice typically stem from the vocal cords being mashed together in a harsh, unproductive way and causing swelling, redness, and strain.
When the vocal folds vibrate there is a natural sound, but voice loss can happen if you are coughing a lot, overuse of your voice if you are using it consistently throughout the day without properly warming up or hydrating, or even doing a lot of throat clearing.
After looking at some of these causes of voice loss, you can be sure to work to prevent the damage to your voice box in the future.
Hoarseness / Sore Throat
A simple sore throat where maybe you’ve been using your voice a lot, and it becomes hoarse, is something that can easily be fixed right from home. One of the best fool-proof ways to help with a sore throat is by doing a warm saltwater gargle.
You don’t need a lot of it, a teaspoon of salt is enough in a small cup of warm water to do the trick. Make sure you are holding the warm water in the back of your throat as you gargle.
Singers don’t always like to do this because gargling warm salt water isn’t pleasant, but it has worked for years in helping people with red, sore or scratchy throats, soothing it and helping it feel better.
Besides gargling, you should also drink plenty of fluids. Being sure to hydrate should be a regular practice as a singer, and this shouldn’t change due to voice loss. You should drink water, herbal tea, tea with slippery elm (it’s great for soothing the throat), or any warm liquids.
It’s important to stay away from drinks that give you more mucus, like milk or cream. Lozenges or throat sprays are also a great alternative to keeping the vocal cords moistened if you want something over-the-counter.
Just be cautious with these as many of the numb the feeling in the vocal cords so when you use your voice, you may not be aware that you could potentially be making your voice worse – try to be on vocal rest when using these products.
A great home remedy for a sore throat that you can use is just taking a nice, hot shower because the steam from the shower helps to open up the nasal passages and soothes the swelling.
If you don’t want to take the shower, use a humidifier for some steam, or if you don’t have one, you can just breathe in over a pot of boiling water on the stove to create the same effect.
Infections / Laryngitis
Sometimes, you may get a true bacterial infection, virus, or laryngitis that causes you to lose your voice. If you have been working with the natural remedies above but your voice is still in pain, you feel heaviness in your chest or are still coughing, now is the time to go and visit a doctor.
You could have acute laryngitis, and though it is treatable, it is also an inflammation of the larynx and can last up to three weeks for the healing process.
Three weeks can seem like an eternity for a singer, so it is important to identify the cause of your voice loss and try to prevent it from happening again.
Voice Loss Prevention
There are multiple ways that you can prevent voice loss, and many have already been covered as a natural remedy to help heal the voice as well, such as hydration, humidifiers or steam, and/or lozenges. These methods can go a long way to helping keep your voice healthy.
Some other great ways to be sure to prevent your voice from being strained or going hoarse are making sure to take vocal rest when necessary. If you have used your voice a lot and can start to feel that it is fatigued – take a break from talking or singing at all.
Avoiding harmful things such as breathing in chemicals, smoking, and avoiding smoke are also very important to keep your voice in tip-top shape. Lastly, be aware of how often you are clearing your throat and/or coughing.
This can lead to problems since your cords will be pushed together so much it can cause inflammation. Things you don’t always think about like allergies or common colds can lead to throat problems because you are putting so much pressure on your throat.
Take care of your voice as much as possible. If you can and/or are curious, you should visit a doctor to receive a laryngoscopy – this can help tell you how your voice is being taken care of and if you should be careful to avoid certain things that can lead to voice loss.
Our local singing teachers and online voice coaches always aim to help you keep your voices safe and healthy.
Does aging affect the singing voice? I’ve sang on The West Coast, East Coast, in between and was booked into Japan, but my partner was afraid of flying over water and I turned down opportunities. Years later, after losing my partner, I think I have one more song in me. Is there an agent for preserving the vocal cords?
Getting back to singing after I haven’t for awhile. I need to do more voice exercises instead of just singing. I have a show coming up and I noticed after I sing certain songs I start to lose my voice. Especially after hitting high notes. My apartment has over excessive heat which I think is what’s bothering my voice. I bought a humidifier. Is there anything else I can do to heal this voice for a show in a week?!
Lots of throat coat tea with honey or a product called Singers Saving Grace..
It’s really helpful
Love you guys appreciate
Basically I am a singer and I used to sing high notes very easily without straining my voice and even since few I lost some vibrato in my voice and I feel I am not able to control my voice properly and also I am not able to sing fast notes properly. What to do??
Voice Lessons would be a big help!
I’ve always had a good voice with a wide range from soprano to second alto. I’ve been singing since I could remember.
Then joined choirs beginning in 6th grade, I did all state chorus for 2 years. Then I sang with the Baltimore Symphony Chorus.
I’ve sung at Wolftrap, the Lyric in Baltimore, and Carnegie Hall. Also musical theater. (Carousel, The King and I). I’ve done Handel’s Messiah, I know it from memory.
Now I lost my singing voice. I can literally sing 2 notes at the same time….2 terrible discords.
Is there a way to restore it? Is there a surgical procedure that would clean up my vocal chords?
So when I was about 15 to 16 years old I was able to say whistle notes. When I got older I lost
the whistle notes but I was still able to sustain a high note like Whitney Houston in “I will always love you” I am 45 years old now and barely can sing by Dionne Warwick song! I mean I used to be able to bellt like Jennifer Hudson and sustain notes like it was Nobody’s Business! I do have asthma and I have some form of COPD. Is that the reason why I cannot sing as well as I used to? I am now very comfortable singing and my lower register but I don’t know how to utilize it to its potential. Please help!
I am a singer that had a bad chest and head cold two weeks ago. I have almost all of my voice back but struggle hitting the high notes. Any suggestions?
I always sing off key, and I don’t know how to sing high pitch
I am 73 and used to do the working mens clubs and also used to be a Bluecoat at Pontins! My voice seemed to be going about 5 years ago as I was experiencing phlem in my throat which was preventing me from reaching those high notes, I am now learning how to play the guitar and it’s annoying that I can’t get the high notes anymore! I can feel that the notes are still there but it just isn’t happening as I would like to go back on stage again but have no confidence, and when I hear the likes of Rod Stewart and Sir Cliff Richard still doing it I think then why can’t I do it?
With a great vocal coach I’m confident you can get your voice back!
Have you considered trying an online voice lesson?
Keep at it and practice! It will come back. Best of luck!
Have you considered meeting with a vocal coach?
Probably best to consult with an ENT.
I have been smoking for about 5to6 years . I’m trying to quit cigarettes but it is hard. I’m down to two to three a day now, which is good. But my singing voice is not back. I really sound awful. I had amazing range. But now when I sing, it sounds horrible..What do I do to get it back?? Do I need to see a doctor??
I would see a Doctor and definitely stop smoking. Very bad for your voice.
I use to have a nice voice. And I have stopped smoking. But for about 6 yrs I stopped singing. And now I can’t get it back. Is there some truth to that saying if don’t use it you will lose it?
I’ve been singing for years then noticed I was losing my voice and spent time trying to figure it out I used to drink an excessive amount of beer which I think caught up to me and not drinking enough water I gave ip drinking beer started to increase drinking water my voice is now coming back especially singing high notes but my regular low voice to speak and sing I find is now faint any help or tips to overcome that
I think you can get it back with consistent practice.
i have been able to sing high notes with ease until recently. I start a song well and can reach the high notes until some way through the song I suddenly cant sing. Its like abrake and nothing comes out
I have had singing lessons but not for about 6months
Sounds like a breathing issue. Definitely get back to lessons and make it a point to work on breath control.
I went to 6 flags and lost my high pitched singing voice for over a week and a half now! What do I do?
I can’t seem to control my voice and sometimes the sound is not smooth it’s as if I always have a sound like a bump everytime I sing. I use to able to sing low notes easy and high notes were a bit difficult but now it is the other way around. High notes are now easy and low notes seem to be straining my voice. I don’t understand
Rest for a few weeks or see a ENT.