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Today’s topic is all about vocal nodules. Vocal nodules are a common pathology among voice users and it has to do with inefficient habit patterns for vocal production. In this video and article, I go over what exactly are vocal nodules, how to tell if you might have them, and how to prevent them.
If you are recovering from vocal nodules or if you would like to prevent them, you’ve come to the right place. In this video, I’m going to tell you what vocal nodules are, how they get produced, and how to avoid them. Make sure you stick to the end because I actually have some resources that will help you make sure you are not developing nodules silently.
My name is Jorgelina. I’ve been a vocal coach for 13 years and I specialize in teaching adults how to sing contemporary music from a holistic and integral approach.
Firstly, let’s talk about what vocal nodules are. Vocal nodules are a pathology that is developed in the vocal cords basically what happens is that your vocal cords develop a little bit of extra tissue, and then the vocal cords can’t fully close when that is formed. If you start singing and you can’t seem to have a clean voice if your voice always comes with a little bit of breath and you can’t seem to sing cleanly, that might be one of the signals. Although, of course, vocal nodules are not the only reason for breathiness in the voice.
Some people sing or talk with breath in their voice normally and that’s because they have a very air pressure to sing/ speak. So that is different. But if you are trying to sing something strongly, and cleanly, and you find that it’s impossible to get rid of some air even if you try to sing louder, that could be one of the reasons why. That could indicate the formation of a nodule, which you would have to check with your ETN doctor.
The second thing we’re going to talk about is how vocal nodules are produced.
There are many reasons why they are produced, but commonly for singers, that is a pathology that gets developed when the vocal cords over-compress for a prolonged period of time.
So it has to be with the way the vocal cords come together. When that is not too efficient, you can develop vocal nodules and, especially if you sing like that for a long time, if you are singing in a way that is not too efficient and you sing for one hour, two hours a day and you keep on doing this in a non-efficient way, that can lead to vocal nodules.
A lot of famous singers have suffered from them, sometimes they have to have surgery to remove them, so it’s not fun.
Now let’s talk about how to make sure that you avoid developing vocal nodules.
As I said before, one of the reasons why vocal nodules are produced is because we over-compress the vocal cords. So there are some things that you can do to prevent this. And today I’m going to tell you three of them.
The first one is to take care of the way you speak. Of course, you have your speaking voice all day. If you have to speak all day, then you have to take care of your spoken voice because the way you speak could lead to injuries. For example, if when you speak, you over-force your voice, you might have to do that if you are a teacher or if you have to talk on your phone all day, then make sure that you take the time to breathe in before speaking, that you regulate the volume that you speak to, that can make a huge difference.
The next thing that you can do to make sure that you don’t develop vocal nodules is to make sure that you don’t overtense your rectus abdominis (the ‘six pack’ abs) when you sing. So, commonly, people who are just starting, when they sing tend to over-compress their abs like this. Yes. If you don’t know if that’s you, just sing anything and bring your head here.
If you notice that you are compressing the abs quite a bit, then that might be you. So that is something to take care of.
Lastly, I would like to tell you that if you work on improving the voice flexibility of your pitch muscles, then you are going to be working with much more efficient vocal compression, and that will help you avoid developing nodules. Now, I do have a video about this that talks specifically about how to develop voice flexibility.
I’m going to link it in the description below so you can go check that out if you are interested.
How do you know if you have a vocal nodule? Well, that is usually done with a vocal study.
So, if you go to your ETN doctor, they can do a laryngoscopy for you. They’re going to bring, put a little camera through your nose to be able to see your vocal cords while you sing. They’re going to make you sing while you have that there. And they can see whether you have a nodule or not, or how the vocal closure is.
Yes, it’s not super fun, but it’s a very short study. If you have been diagnosed with vocal nodules, the best thing for you to do is to go to a speech pathologist, to get treatment specifically on that. Sometimes in some cases, they tell you to keep on taking singing lessons and sometimes that you need to focus just on voice rehab for a while. If you have vocal nodules, please do your vocal rehab. Make sure you don’t keep on singing through them if you have been told not to until you are recovered, because they just get worse and it’s not fun I hope this video was useful for you.
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