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Voice Problems from Ulcers

Since my senior year of high school I have been having problems with my singing voice.  Originally, it was that my tonsils were causing me pain to sing then I got them out and they found ulcers on my vocal chords.  I went through about 6 months of vocal therapy and several reflux medications till the otolaryngologist said I was fine to sing again.  I am now in my junior year of a music education program and my voice professor gets frustrated with me because I can’t sing above a high A on a good day and I am a soprano.  I have worked and tried every exercise I can find and have been taught to sing these notes but my voice just cracks out or stops completely when I get high A.  My teacher has told me that she won’t accept that I cannot sing those notes because there’s no reason I should not be able to.  Does anyone have any advice on how I might be able to build up those notes?  I have been back to the otolaryngologist and they have said that there are not any problems. 
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Replies (7): Threaded | Chronological
on January 28, 2013 3:54am
Hi Jessica,
"Knee jerk" reaction..... it's time to switch teachers. It is time to find a teacher that values you, your well being and your vocal health more than  notes above high A. 
Good luck.
on January 28, 2013 7:14am
I don't know where you are located, but if you are in or near Chicago, I can recommend an ENT and speech pathologist/singing teacher who helped me a lot.  Have you had the test where they put a scope into your vocal cords to see exactly what's happening when you're singing?  Once they know that, you can go to a speech pathologist who can correct the problem.  The one I went to was wonderful because she is also a voice teacher. 
You mentioned reflux medication.  It is possible that no reflux medication will help you because the valve between your esophagus and stomach may have loosened.  This can happen for any number of reasons, and once it does, stomach acid will come into your throat and possibly, your vocal cords, regardless of how little acid is produced.  (Your stomach has to make SOME acid or you won't be able to digest your food.)  There are many different kinds of reflux meds, and you may need an H2 blocker instead of a proton pump inhibitor-- but you may have tried all of those already, and if you still have reflux, the problem most likely DOES have to do with a weak valve. 
There is a book about how to control reflux that I found helpful.  It's called "Dropping Acid."  (There is a subtitle, as well, but I don't remember what it is.  You can check on Amazon.)  It is both a scientific explanation of reflux and a cookbook.  There are certain foods you should avoid-- more than you will want to-- to minimize your reflux, if reflux is part of your problem.  There are other lifestyle changes you can make, as well, all described in the book and on the Internet.  I won't go into details because it's possible you don't even have reflux at all.
There are lots of other medical conditions than can affect one's voice, including myofascial trigger points and post-nasal drip.  That's why all the above recommendations to see an ENT are spot on.  I think you should do that ASAP.
Good luck,
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