Mudcat Café message #2399270 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97099   Message #2399270
Posted By: Bonnie Shaljean
28-Jul-08 - 06:21 AM
Thread Name: Damaged vocal Folds through Throat Clear
Subject: RE: Damaged vocal Folds through Throat Clear
Hi Guest Big Mouth -

I wrote a reply yesterday but it got sucked away into the great cyber-Beyond for some reason and never appeared. Excessive mucous can be the after-effect of a bad cold or throat/chest-infection (and it tends to linger on for ages afterwards) or of prolonged exposure to smoke and other tissue-unfriendly atmospheres, as well as excessive use. It's one of the body's defense-mechanisms, meant to wrap the affected area in a protective coating. This means that if you try to sing, speak, or whisper (which is just as wearing, if not more) through it, you will overstrain and abrade the vocal cords, causing damage in addition to any rawness or problems that may have already been there. Even after the illness has gone, the phlegm-straitjacket seems to hang around for a long time, though it does eventually go - but it's often a matter of months, not days or weeks, and it can feel like eternity.

If you have been clearing your throat excessively, you've probably been aggravating the situation, wearing your vocal cords and also causing the glands to produce yet more mucous, so it's a vicious cycle. If this has been going on for seven months, it's hard to say whether permanent damage has resulted or not. You truly do need to get a qualified voice practitioner or ear-nose-throat specialist to examine your throat and give you an accurate individual medical report. Generalisations won't tell you anything about your own situation.   

The other thing you must do is really a not-do, and that is: STOP clearing your throat or subjecting your voice to any abrasive use (shouting, singing, gravelling-for-effect etc); and in fact try to speak as little as possible. I know it's a horrible hassle, but the measures you take now may prevent non-singing from becoming a permanent state of affairs. It's impossible to say from this distance whether the voice will ever come right again - even doctors can't always make future predictions. But it sounds like it could - so give it every chance. And that means allowing it as close to total vocal rest as you can manage.

If one stops the abuse in time and lets the injury heal (and the longer it has gone on, the longer it will take) then the voice could come back to form. If nodes have resulted, the harm is more serious - though there is (surgical?) treatment for them, and I'm not sure of the prognosis, though it surely varies with each individual case. The worst scenario is when the misuse has gone on for too long, because beyond a certain point the damage becomes permanent.   

Do read the threads linked in blue at the head of this page, because there is a lot of helpful advice in them. No magic cures, unfortunately, but with wear-injuries (it's the same with R.S.I.) there simply isn't one. It's purely a matter of time and rest.

There is another thread which should be added to the above column because it's on the same theme: "Lost my voice, can you help me find it?"
CLONE ALERT Can you please add this to the above links?

Best of luck to you. A number of those who have posted in those other threads have come right again - so did I - so keep your head up (quietly!).