Typical voice problems in professional singers
Voice problems in professional singers often manifest in the speaking voice as well as in the singing voice. Affected singers perceive changes in their vocal sound, vocal functions, and vocal resilience and are usually able to name them well due to their pronounced body sensation.
Typical problems that may indicate a voice disorder in professional singers are, for example, decreasing resilience and rapid signs of fatigue in the singing and speaking voice. The voice increasingly requires a longer regeneration period. A busy to hoarse voice sound can often be heard, especially after rehearsals and performances, but also after practicing at home. Increasingly, note onsets no longer succeed smoothly, but only with increased pressure and are often delayed. As a rule, piano singing is difficult or no longer possible, and the ability to swell (Messa di Voce), especially from loud to soft, no longer functions well. Often the notes are broken off. Affected singers report that they constantly feel “sung off”, that their voice sounds dull or rough, that they no longer feel their “voice fit” and that they have difficulties in the register transitions (passaggio). High notes can only be mastered with increased effort, i.e. with increased air pressure and high volume. Many affected professional singers also describe a loss of sound, a so-called “hole” in the middle register. The range of notes that would otherwise be available and necessary for professional performance is increasingly reduced – especially the high notes are no longer retrievable. The speaking voice, on the other hand, is elevated in many cases after singing.
Affected professional singers also often complain of “tension pains, feelings of pressure and a twinge in the throat” during or after singing and speaking, as well as increased mucus production and a need to clear the throat. Singing is increasingly strenuous and cannot be sustained for long.