Why can't I sing anymore? Singing voice gone for several months, please help

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hatrickpatrick2's picture
Why can't I sing anymore? Singing voice gone for several months, please help
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I was wondering if you could help me figure out why I've lost my singing voice. I'm 23 years old, been singing since the day i said my first words as a baby, and I never had any problems whatsoever with my voice until a year or two ago, at the very least I never had a problem before I was 21, and as far as I remember it didn't become a problem until 22.

I used to be a good singer, I could sing for hours very powerfully, in both my normal voice and falsetto.
In the last year or so though my voice has just been falling apart. I can no longer sing in falsetto at all - When I manage to make a falsetto sound it feels like I'm really having to force the air through to make any sound at all, more often than not when I try to switch into falsetto I just get a sort of wheezy "squeak" as demonstrated in the MP3 clip below.
Not only that, I feel my voice doesn't have nearly the same power as it used to, it feels like I'm "using" a lot more air to produce a far quieter sound. To give you an analogy, it feels like blowing up a burst balloon, where you have to pump a lot harder and yet you still produce a smaller balloon. Or driving on a slippery road, you use more gas and more power with your engine, but you can't go as fast.
Finally, my endurance is just gone. My throat (back of my throat around where the uvula is) hurts after just a few minutes of singing. I try to get through a song and I feel like I've developed a sore throat by the end of it. Now one of the issues here is that this has made it so unpleasant to sing that I've largely given up singing for several months, which I'm sure leads to underuse of vocal muscles, leading to the muscles atrophying or losing some of their strength, leading to further pain, leading to even less singing. A vicious cycle.

I can't pinpoint an exact time frame for when this all started, all I know is looking back on the last year, it started to hurt whenever I'd sing, and I started singing less and less, and now I'm at a point where I really want to sing but whenever I try, it either hurts, or I try to hit a falsetto note (which I pretty much can't do at all anymore) and get frustrated. It's killing me.

Can you give me any indication of what this might mean? What could have caused this? I'm getting an appointment with an ENT but it could be a while on the waiting list, and I'm looking for any reassurance that my voice isn't permanently destroyed and I might be able to sing again some day :(

Here's the Mp3 of me trying to sing falsetto, and then a quick clip of me just speaking normally.


Here's a link to me singing the same song a couple of years ago, you can hear the difference in how I used to be able to put so much power into my voice.


Hate to say it, but I literally can't imagine being able to sing like that right now, I listen to that clip and honestly can't remember how I could possibly sing like that before :(

How could it fall apart so drastically in just a year or two, and is there any hope whatsoever that I might one day be able to sing this song as I did in the video once again?

James P Thomas MD
James P Thomas MD's picture

 While I hope you have solved your problem, if you have not then the best way is to have a good laryngeal examination. I have links to a number of specialists around the world on this website.