Too Much Air in My Voice

Singer with Doctor

Dear Doctor Jahn,

When I sing in the upper register, I can hit the notes but as the note sounds, I can also hear air coming through. It’s like the note and a hissing of air. Should I just go on vocal rest and drink plenty of water and will this subside?

– Anne

Dear Ann,

Your description certainly suggests that the vocal folds are not meeting in the middle, particularly in the top register. I would be interested to know how your voice behaves at the register shift (passaggio). This is usually the area where muscle tension manifests. If the problem is only at the top, swelling or possibly nodules may indeed be the cause. 

If, on the other hand, the voice is breathy throughout its range and especially if you having problems at the register shift, the muscle tension may also play a role.

Regarding management, there should be no problem with voice rest for a week. If the voice improves and returns to normal, then nothing more needs to be done. If the breathiness persists, however, then you should see a doctor and have the larynx examined.

-Anthony F. Jahn, MD, FACS, FRCS(C)

This discussion is for general information and not to be construed as specific medical advice that you should obtain from your own physician.

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