I just received a question regarding sinus problems and the voice, so here is some information on medicines and more importantly, exercises to heal the voice.
Sinusitis can greatly affect your voice, but you can still speak and sing if you warm up the voice with special exercises. Singing actually helps sinusitis. The inflammation in the sinuses can go all the way down to your upper respiratory system and keep the vocal cords swollen. If you have excess post-nasal drip, it can also irritate your vocal cords. Mucinex is a wonderful medicine for sinusitis. The active ingredient is guaifenesin, which is derived from the guaiac tree, and was used as a generic remedy by American indigenous peoples when explorers reached North America in the 16th century. Guaifenesin thins the mucus, without drying the throat like antihistamines, so more mucus is absorbed in the blood stream and there is less mucus to irritate the sinuses and throat. According to modern medicine guaifenesin is thought to act as an expectorant by increasing the volume and reducing the viscosity of secretions in the trachea and bronchi. It also stimulates the flow of respiratory tract secretions, allowing ciliary movement to carry the loosened secretions upward toward the pharynx.
Natural remedies work as well. In Chinese traditional medicine, phlegm results from too much “damp” in the body and warming herbs are recommended. In Ayurvedic medicine phlegm would be seen as a disorder of kapha and treated with warming, drying herbs as well. Warming spices like ginger, cayenne, cinnamon and cardamom are wonderful for reducing mucus in the body. Goldenseal is one of the best herbs for treating the sinuses, as well as goldenrod, eyebright and elderflower. These herbs can help stop sinus congestion from turning into a sinus infection. Echinacea root is fantastic for upper respiratory tract issues. Garlic and onion are also excellent anti-phlegmatic foods to be added to your meals. One thing to keep in mind regarding herbs, if you have hay fever or pollen induced allergies; some of these herbs can actually induce more mucus and an allergic response. Many herbs used for medicinal purposes are also weeds and if you are allergic to weeds, you may have problems instead of benefits from these herbs. Rinsing the sinuses with saline water is very beneficial but be careful of the nedipot if you have severe sinus problems as it can allow too much water to flow into the sinuses and actually further irritate them. If you have any favorite remedies, feel free to add them here.
EXERCISES FOR AN IRRITATED VOICE:
Proper technique is super important when you have sinus problems. If your speech is not affected by your sinus problems, then I would begin by slowly transitioning from speech to singing. Speak a phrase, then sing-speak the phrase and finally sing the phrase. Singing is a direct extension of the speaking voice, if you are adding any tension to the throat or body when you sing, it will be evident when you go from speech to singing.
Also, humming exercises are excellent for the voice as well as the sinuses. Humming phonation is used by speech pathologists to heal the voice. So much so that many speech pathologists use a type of speech therapy called “Resonant Voice Therapy,” created by Katherine Verdolini, based on the work of Arthur Lessac. Voice scientists have found that using a resonant voice takes stress off the vocal cords and is especially useful in training speakers and singers with voice problems.
When we hum, the voice comes in contact with the roof of the mouth creating a resonating cavity in the mouth and vibrating the sinuses. By using the roof of the mouth as a focus for the voice, tension is pulled out of the larynx and the vocal cords are allowed to vibrate freely. The vocal cords are a small reed that are only to be used as a vibrator and never as the power source for the voice. If you feel any engagement in the muscles of the throat, than you are trying to sing in the throat instead of using the mouth as the resonator. The throat is just a hallway to the mouth cavity that should be kept open and relaxed in singing. How do we find our resonant voice? Through the use of the nasal consonants in the English language, we can improve our vocal tone. Voice trainers discovered that, by sounding on the consonants [m], [n] and [ng], singers and speakers will feel vibrations in the face. If you hum the nasal consonants, they make the voice vibrate against the hard palate of the mouth, which then radiates sympathetic vibrations into the bones of the face. Many old Italian singing treatises have called this “singing in the mask of the face,” and most people feel vibration in the bones across their sinuses, the nose and the forehead, in a sort of “mask” area.
Why do we feel the bones in our face vibrate? Stick your thumb in your mouth and rest it on the roof of your mouth. Now hum a tone close to the pitch you normally speak on and feel with your thumb the vibrations on the roof of your mouth. Try a lower tone. You should feel the whole roof of your mouth vibrating. These vibrations of sound hitting your hard palate will continue outwards, into the bones of your face and sooth the sinuses.
Here are some exercises:
Hum on an M and then hum speak the following short phrases. Then try singing the phrases making sure the hum goes through the whole length of the phrase. You will produce your healthiest vocal sound as well as your most beautiful sound.
Money money money
Mime mime mime
Many minions mingle
Nime nime nime
Gnomes live in Nome
Mary mooches Mona’s money
Mom made marmalade
My oh my, Minnie’s moody
Merry monkeys march madly
Marshmallows mostly melt
Gnomes live in Nome
Always have phlem, top of my throat, trying , I feel this is affecting my voice, a Doctor said I had to live with it, other countries there are treatments and cures , after singing in a concert, after 3 weeks my voice still raspy , weak it breaks , what can you advise me please
So sorry to take so long to answer your comment. You should take mucinex. But not mucinex D, just plain mucinex. It thins the phlegm. You can buy it at any pharmacy. Also, don’t, clear your throat a lot, that increases phlegm. Singing is the best way to get phlegm off the top of the throat. Also, you may need a diet change. Dairy causes phlegm.
please refer to keto diet, which is really a lifestyle change. This is how i CURED my problem
Can you elaborate? There are lots of Keto diets out there. Can you share a link to the one you follow?
I’ve been sick with a sinus infection for two weeks and my dr finally put me on an antibiotic but my upper register vocals are still shot (it sounds like/feels like my resting speaking voice has dropped a few registers) and I have vocals to sing/record through all this…any suggestions to help me reach and transfer my notes to my high register without strain? And any idea how long until my vocal chords start to feel better? They seem very raw and pulled.
I’m sorry to hear about your sinus infection. You have edema (swelling of the vocal cords). The sinuses and throat are all one tract. If you have swelling in your sinuses you most likely will have swelling around your vocal cords. Best to not record if you can for the week you are on antibiotics to let swelling clear up. If you have to sing, it must be done on the airflow with no pressing of the vocal cords together.
Hi there, thanks for the informative article. I sing semi professionally at least a few days a week. I’ve recently recovered from a severe chest and sinus infection lasting over a month and while I had similar vocal symptoms to Kellene I recovered from that quite well. My problem is with my sinus. I feel great and my vocal ability is about 95% of what it was but I can’t seem to shake the nasally sound in my voice, more noticeable in my head voice than my chest voice. I have little to no discharge from my sinus or down my throat but still have that resonance in my singing voice that most singers know almost makes you want to not sing!
I only write this as it is rare for me not to have fully recovered from a sickness by now and want to know what steps would be practical to get my full voice back.
Thanks in advance!! (Please respond via email provided)
If you are talking about the stuffed up nose type of nasality then you should see an allergist or ENT. It can take months for a sinus infection to completely go away. They are very stubborn. Or, you might of developed an allergy and need to take care of that. You should be rinsing your sinuses with saline everyday. This is a must for singers as it keeps the sinus cavity open, dust free and healthy. Hope this helps.
I’m a professional singer and musician. I have learnt to sick higher by relaxing the larynx which works effectively but there are certain points in my voice where the voce will suddenly dry up or sound raspy. I don’t feel pain when I sing but rather that I can’t seem to get much forward resonance and the tone is particularly dull. My voice doesn’t seem to like ee or ii.
I’ve always had bad sinuses but I feel that it is really starting to get in the way of my resonance, tone and control.
To get up into your higher notes you need your sinuses to feel free and open. Ee and Ii are the best vowels for the male voice but they require a lot of freedom in the sinuses. I would practice them always with an M or N in front. Nee or Me. But I would check with a doctor to see if you can heal your sinuses. An allergist or ENT is a singer”s best friend. For falsetto the best way to find a high note for a man is to start on a hum and then open the note to an, NO or Noo.
Thank you so very much for this advice. I will try it as soon as I get home today. For the past 5 years I have endured many terrible and painful sinus infections. The worst one even necessitated an operation to scrape out scar tissue.
As a young child and teen I never had sinus problems. I also used to sing all the time to the point where I tortured my poor parents. I have always had a natural ability to sing even the most complex arias. I have never had any sort of vocal training however, I just mimicked what I would hear on the classical radio channels.
I used to hum a great deal as a child, often matching the pitch of certain machinery and bird sounds. I would feel the inside of my mouth vibrate and then it would do so throughout my face. It was fun.
Recently I have noticed a terrible change in my voice. I used to be able to sing an entire range of octaves but now hang about in the lowest registers. Singing however does seem to alleviate my sinus. I also like how you pointed to dairy as a culprit. I was allergic to dairy as a child. So I never came into contact with it. However I have been using it as an adult to my own determent it would seem. I will certainly be cutting it out now.
I can’t wait to get home and try out this exercise Thank you!
Thnaku for this article sir..!!
I had sinus problem in which my doctor said tht the bone of my nose gets moved from its place..!!
I really wants to learn music.. bt as far from this problem i couldn’t..!!
Every time i eat anything i fell much cough in my throat and chest..!! And i hve to throw tht out by coughing a lot..!!
Nd also my nose remains blocked for many times..!!
As faras thai problem is with me,till my thraot hets perfectly clear…i could not go to learn singing…!!
So canu suggest me anything sirr which leads to help me..!!
Any medicine or anything tht will clear my thrat nd blocong of nose issue so tht i can perfectly beathe..!!
It sound like you have an allergy due to either food, pollution or plants and trees. The best thing for a blocked nose is Mucinex. Just the plain type without the D. But natural remedies work well. If you are in India it most likely do to the pollution. I am in Kolkata right now and I am suffering with my eyes being red, my nose running and a sore throat. It is as if I have a cold, but I don’t. Some people are more allergic to pollution than others. I even have trouble with pollution when I am in New York. The best cure is to get plain saline solution and rinse your nose after you are outside. Then get saline gel and put it in your nostrils throughout the day to keep them moist. A runny nose can actually happen from the mucosal tissues of the nose feeling dry so they over produce fluid. I have also found that tulsi pills (the herb), that are used for colds in India, help the swelling with in the nose and throat. A must for any singer is to get an air purifier machine to put in your house. There are small moveable machines that you can move around the house. I always sleep with one on next to my bed and, if I am working on my computer, I keep it on next to me at home. The best of luck to you. I know how awful this can be. Heather
Hello, I am a singer and I have post nasal drip which I started having it this year and it won’t go away, I have tried mucinex that helped it a little, but it gets worse sometimes which affects my voice and the ability to sing beautifully, what should I do what are other home remedies I should try that will work to thin the mucus!
I’m so sorry to hear about your post nail drip. If you are in India it is do to the pollution. I am in Kolkata right now and I am suffering with my eyes being red, my nose running and a sore throat. It is as if I have a cold, but I don’t. Some people are more allergic to pollution than others. I even have trouble with pollution when I am in New York. I have found that anti-allergy prescriptions help some, but the best is to get plain saline solution and rinse your nose after you are outside. Then get saline gel and put it in your nostrils throughout the day to keep them moist. A runny nose can actually happen from the mucosal tissues of the nose feeling dry so they over produce fluid. When my doctor told me to put gel (thus more fluid) in my nose it seemed crazy. My nose is always wet! But the saline gel has helped so much. I have also found that tulsi pills (the herb), that are used for colds in India, help the swelling with in the nose and throat. A must for any singer is to get an air purifier machine to put in your house. There are small moveable machines that you can move around the house. I always sleep with one on next to my bed and, if I am working on my computer, I keep it on next to me at home. The best of luck to you. I know how awful this can be. Heather
I just discovered your website!!! Your article is really informative! Thank you Extended from this article, Do you know about chronic rhinitis that leads to soft palate swollen ? Or soft palate swollen ? Is it the same as chronic sinusitis ?
Do you know exercises to decrease the swollen and stretch or regain elasticity the soft palate which tends to rigidify after years of swollen ?
Thank you from France, if you have time to reply!!! I wish a happy new year!
Hi from India. Where are you in France? Chronic rhinitis can easily lead to swelling of the soft palate and the whole throat, even the vocal cords. The job of the soft palate is to close the sinus cavity when singing or speaking, but it is open most the time. If you have chronic rhinitis as I do, the fluid that drips out the front of your nose will also drip out the back of your nose, which is where the soft palate is, leading to swelling. The nose is an indicator of the whole respiratory system so if you have chronic rhinitis also have your lungs checked out and most likely you have swelling of the vocal cords at times. The thing to do is to get rid of the rhinitis. Here is the recent program I am on. I have suffered with rhinitis most of my life, so I feel for you!
Most rhinitis is caused to allergy, so the first thing to do is to see of you can find out what you are allergic to and remove it from your environment. Some people are more allergic to pollution than others, some are more allergic to nature. I have trouble with pollution when I am in New York and then if I am in nature I am allergic to the trees, so both the city and country can be difficult for me. I have found that anti-allergy prescriptions help some, but the best is to get plain saline solution and rinse your nose after you are outside. Then get saline gel and put it in your nostrils throughout the day to keep them moist. A runny nose can actually happen from the mucosal tissues of the nose feeling dry so they over produce fluid. When my doctor told me to put gel (thus more fluid) in my nose it seemed crazy. My nose is always wet! But the saline gel has helped so much. I have also found that tulsi pills (the herb), that are used for colds in India, help the swelling with in the nose and throat.
A must for any singer is to get an air purifier machine to put in your house. There are small moveable machines that you can move around the house. I always sleep with one on next to my bed and, if I am working on my computer, I keep it on next to me at home.
The best of luck to you.
I just discovered your website!!! Your article is really informative! Thank you Extended from this article, Do you know about chronic rhinitis that leads to soft palate swollen ? Or soft palate swollen ? Is it the same as chronic sinusitis ?
Do you know exercises to decrease the swollen and stretch or regain elasticity in the soft palate which tends to rigidify after years of swollen ?
Thank you from France, if you have time to reply!!! I wish you a happy new year!
Hey wasup??!I don’t feel very good with ma voice!see,I’m a singer and I don’t know what’s wrong with ma voice but I know ma nose blocked and I sneeze a lot.when I try to sing I feel that there’s some air in ma voice lyk I’m losin it,especially in ma mixed,head register.I don’t know if u has some suggestion On this?I would gladley appreciate your help!
You are most deficiently suffering from allergies which will affect your nose and your vocal cords. Definitely see a doctor and read some of the questions and answers on this page.
I have been suffering from sinus and nasal problems for years! It has always been a battle to get my voice to sound its best. Lately, I have noticed that I have been sounding very nasally when I sing. It’s usually when I focus the sound towards my soft palate. I use a neti pot religiously, but sometimes I skip it when my voice doesn’t improve because I get discouraged that it’s not helping. My sinuses sometimes feel swollen, almost like they’re throbbing. I have had post nasal drip for years. Singing is my livelihood and I fight everyday to get rid of this problem!
I need to follow your recommendation and see a doctor.
I am encouraged by your article and all of your replies to the comments! I will continue to use the neti pot and get back to using Mucinex. I’m also going to look into the saline gel. I’ve never heard of it before.
Also, do you have any specific daily vocal exercises that you recommend? I bought a CD a while back and have been using those exercises, but the CD doesn’t really explain what each exercise is good for. So really, I just kind of pick and choose which one I want to do, but don’t know exactly what it does.
I feel for you, I know all about swollen sinuses. They are so painful. Definitely see a doctor. My doctor gave me a prescription for a topical antibiotic called Mupirocin Ointment that I put in my nose with a Qtip and then let drain into my sinuses. I’m also experimenting with essential oils. Right now I’m using an oil blend with black spruce, frankincense, chamomile and peppermint oil called “lung levity” and this is helping me sing. It opens the passages. Livinglibations.com is where I got it. Peppermint oil alone is also good. Please check with your doctor before using these though as I am not an MD and don’t know your specific situation.
Make sure if you use your neti pot that you don’t use salt when the sinuses are swollen. It will make them worse! Think about salt on a wound, yikes! Make sure that all the water gets out of your sinuses when you use your net pot. If a little water hangs out in them and drains out later, an infection or irritation can start.
Regarding exercises, humming or resonance exercises are best. Do you have my Vocal Yoga Singing Exercises CD?
Best of luck! and let me know if you find any good remedies.
Hi ! I have always had many colds and snoring as a child , I always get colds that are heavy. At night I can’t breathe through my nose when lying on my side, like there’s something pushing. I can’t sing to save my life becuase I feel my voice has limits with regards to vibrations. I always feel my voice is either low or high pitched without in between, when I sing it just sounds like there’s something there , like a constant behind the nose cold or something ??
The first thing I would do is see an ear/nose and throat doctor. It sounds like you may have a deviated septum. This is when one or both of the nasal passages are not formed completely straight and it is hard to breath through the nose, or there are other reasons for a lot of snoring that can be anatomically caused. Regarding vibrations, that is something that I would see a singing teacher for. In voice work we learn to vibrate the bones of our body when we sound. Regarding no middle of the voice, that is often the case when someone first starts singing. A singer will have low notes and high notes but the voice will be weak in the middle. Once again, I would see a good singing teacher and one who knows about the anatomy and physiology of the voice.
All the best,
I have sinus infection and i am not able to sing… Cough is get stuck in my throat.. And steam inhalation not work.. Pls sir this is very irritating help me
I have cough and cold also…
You need to take antibiotics if you have a sinus infection. Please see a doctor.
I feel like my voice is producing through the roof of my mouth connecting my nose with distortion and also I find difficult to pronounce a full phrase. one of my friend told me that my voice sounds too hard, it seems like something is blocking my vocal chord. so can you please help me cure this?
You should feel vibration of your voice in the roof of the mouth and in the nose, that is normal. But are you pushing the breath out of the body? That will make you sound harsh. Can you hold the sounding your mouth and just let it resonate there. You can move the sound forward and back within the mouth to check out the tone. Too much nasality will make it hard to sing, it will kill the power of the voice so see if you can reduce nasality. Regarding the feeling of blockage in the vocal cords, do see a doctor for this and get a stroboscopy exam.
Fascinating article! I have been looking for scientific information on the role of the sinuses in singing for a while.
I am a singer and voice teacher, and about a year and a half ago I had sinus surgery I didn’t realize it before the surgery but I had chronic sinus infections due to my anatomy (really big turbinates and tiny passage ways).
In many ways I am so much better off. However I still have some persistent vocal issues. When I sing in the transition between my 2nd and 3rd register (especially going from high to low), there is a loud rustling sound of water moving around in my head that persists for the duration I choose to sing. Sometimes a good warm up will move the phlegm enough to sing through the rustling and sound decent. However it takes a LOT of focus and I have to flare my nostrils and really really emphasize my cheek bones. Other days it continually stops the flow of breath in this part of my voice and my voice cracks a fair amount.
Also, my sinuses feel as though they are really dry rather than wet (which, I know is a contradiction cause of the water). However when I have trouble sleeping cause of sinus pain it is pretty much always cause of dryness in my sinuses and behind my eyes. Sometimes I even get a bloody nose. And humidifiers seem to help.
It feels like there is water trapped just above my palate, and when I move from a nasal consonant to a vowel there is a small delay in the resonant space opening due to water sloshing.
The sinus doctors say that everything looks great and I am healing well after surgery.
I would love advice on:
I) what you think is going on
2) if you can locate the space in my sinuses where the water is had have some suggestion for moving it (sometimes tilting in the right ways can really help)
3) Any suggestions
You should definitely be on guaifenesin (Mucinex in the blue box). It thins and flushes out extra mucus. Also, saline nasal gel is really nice to sue for dry nose. A runny nose is often caused by a dry nose trying to lubricate itself.
What would you suggest for someone with allergic rhinitis? I started taking voice lessons about 6 months ago. I notice that my sinuses get clogged after singing for about 30 minutes or so. When this happens, I cannot reach my head voice, and I strain when reaching higher notes. I wonder if I will be able to progress in my singing at all, since this is an everyday problem, and one that always occurs when I sing. I use a prescription nasal corticosteroid spray at night to help me sleep.
First off, don’t take your nasal spray before bed. The steroids can leak through the mucus of the throat down into your vocal cords. Take your spray right after a shower and hang over for about 30 seconds so it gets back into the small chambers of the nose. Also, you should be taking guaifenesin twice a day. Google its benefits. We use itat the National Center for Voice and Speech.
You know, I have been suffering with this for years. I have a really horrible nasal drip that I got a few years ago after a severe chest infection and it doesn’t go away. I tried Manuka honey and other remedies. There is a thick mucus when I wake up in the morning, and it’s still kinda lurking during the day. I can feel it in the back of my throat. My doctors told me to just live with it, but I had to give up singing because it’s pretty much impossible to sing for long without my voice going pitchy or breaking.
The sad thing is, I only found this site now. People in other countries seem to be able to find treatments for it. Or… maybe I just need to find a different doctor. 🙁
Yes, definitely a different doctor. Guaifenesin is what is suggested by the doctors at The National Center for Voice and speech where I am studying right now. It thins mucus and and helps the voice tremendously.
Hello.. HELP!!!!! M
I went to see a Ear Nose Throat specialist and she told me I was experiencing G.E.R.D. I had stop singing professionally because I was unable to use vibrato, my sound sounded nasal, I lost my voice range, I lost my head voice, it’s really bad. I took your advice of the humming exercises, however, I did that and it sounds like my voice was frying in a pan. I need help… Please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!
You should have your vocal cords scoped to get an enlarged view of your vocal cords to see what’s going on. ENT’s often use GERD as a diagnosis for many things. GERD can inflame your vocal cords and cause lots of problems but if you are having scratchiness in your voice that can be something else. Make sure you are following the GERD diet. I have GERD and I just got back from Asia where I just ate fish and veggies and my GERD really reduced. I try to see otolaryngologists instead of ENTs, but either way, insist on having your vocal cords viewed with stroboscopy, which is where they put a camera inside your mouth or down your nose (doesn’t hurt) and take a magnified film of your vocal cords as you make sound. All pro singers should do this from time to time. We are more sensitive to all sorts of injuries because we are vocal athletes.
Let me know how it goes.
I have been taking homeo treatments for around 3 years…..for my sinus infection..But still I didn’t got any change in my voice…People now too usually say me that ” you are speaking from your nose”…And..this Makes me embarrassed naturally, Please suggest me to make my voice better and louder
I have never had much luck with homeopathic treatments unfortunately. Chronic sinus problems are usually caused by inhaling things that we have an allergic response to. I’m allergic to trees and weeds and pollution, all of which are in my city. Make sure you are rinsing your nose with saline everyday when you return home to rinse out allergens. Make sure you have an air purifier at home and in your office and I’m trying a new thing. I just got back from Asia where people wear face masks and I thought, that’s for me! Well in the US I would look stupid doing that but I was just watching this show “Shark Tank” and they had a guy on there who has created little shields that go over our nostrils that aren’t that noticeable and filter everything going through your nose. I just ordered them on Amazon and I’m going to try them this week. They are called “First Defense Nasal Screens”.
Also, make sure that your sinus problems are not connected to GERD. If you have acid reflux it can creep into the sinus cavity at night and cause all sorts of problems.
Best of luck,
i really am frustrated, and i need your help.
i have had chronic cold since i was little, but suddenly i was gone and the past few years i catch a cold like most of the people, but my voice sound like i am having a cold whether i talk or sing, do you know why is it happening and if i can fix it?
So sorry to hear about your troubles. When you have a cold, your vocal cords will be swollen causing voice problems. If you still have a scratchy voice then you probably have allergies and maybe some of the colds you had as a child were allergies instead. You need to see an ear, nose and throat doctor. If you have irritation in your nose you will most likely have irritation in your voice. Also, spicy food and eating late at night can cause irritation in the vocal cords. It is called GERD when acid spills over into your larynx while you are sleeping. Once again, you need to see a doctor.
Best of luck,
I live in Japan, and I’m studying music.
My vocal coach says I have bad air-flow through my nose and that’s effecting my vocal freedom.
May I please ask for any advise you have for my case?
Practice humming on Ms Ns and NGs and hold your fingers under your nose. You should feel air on your fingers. Then sing words that start with those consonants and hum sing on them and feel for the air still on your fingers that you have below your nose, like the name Nakamura. Then sing other words with regular consonants and vowels. You won’t feel the air blowing on your fingers but you will feel warmth within the nose. That is what we call humming phonation and what is required for good singing.
Thank you for your advice. I am looking for information on how to sing with allergies—I have apparrantly adult onset allergies
mostly way too much phelgm–every morning snorting it out and spitting–like an old trucker
I sing with our ministry’s worship group—-another great singer wants to record some of my songs and record me
this is a problem—he also says I sing under the note–I don’t know all the terms–but I don’t breathe deeply–i have an inhaler because of allergies but don’t have to use it often—-I want to improve and train my voice for a recording session in February—-I will get more Mucinex–I have an Oreck air cleaner- is that the right type
Good on the mucinex and the air cleaner. If you have phlegm in the morning I would check your diet. I have terrible hay fever but no phlegm. Phlegm is usually caused by food allergies. I had to eliminate all dairy and many singers have to eliminate wheat. I would go through a process where you eliminate something and see if you don’t have phlegm afterwards. You may have to go through quite few foods to find the culprit.
PITCH: Regarding being under the pitch, to sing in tune you have to have the resonance in the sinus area and it is being contemplated by scientists that a little bit of air might actually go through the nose at all times when we sing. The best thing to do is record yourself singing on M, Ns and NGs which are nasal consonants and see if you can keep your vowels and other consonants in the same place you feel the them. If you have allergies it can be hard to do this. Flat singing is very often caused by not having the voice in the nose area (or what has been traditionally called the mask area), so it is a technical problem, not a hearing problem.
Hope that helps!
Hello, I used to be a singer. Now I sound terrible and when I try to reach a higher note I feel like I’m choking. My throat feels very dry. I then have the urge to get the flem out of my throat. I quit smoking ten years ago. Is this from smoking or from my sinuses which do give me problems?
The vocal cords are muscles and if not used can get rusty. The best thing is to get a small coffee stirring straw and sing into it. Make glides from low to high. If you reach an area of your voice that is rough, go back and forth over it. When going higher your throat may get tight if you have not been singing. Sing into the straw and try to glide a little higher and then a little higher and over time you will get your high notes back. Watch my teachers video. He is one of the top scientists in the world. Here is a link to his video that went viral https://youtu.be/0xYDvwvmBIM Regarding phelgm, that is usually caused by food allergies. Do you eat dairy or wheat? Try eliminating them. Regarding having a dry throat, medication usually causes that. Check with your doctor.
This discussion, was exactly the information I was looking for. I’m a professional singer as well and have been having a hard time recovering my voice, it’s being affected in the higher register. I didn’t realize that sinus and upper respiratory infection can last quite a while, for me its been about 4 months. Doctor had me on some kind of antibiotics, didn’t have any affect, she said it was allergies. Your information is priceless, how do I contribute to your fine work. Thank you.
If you have allergies then you must live with hepifilter machines in your home. My allergist, who happens to have bad allergies, has them in every room.
Good day. I have always a nasal drip. I were again at the ear nose and throat specialist for a sinus scan. There is a mucosal thickening in the maxillary antra. He want correct the sinuses but I am not sure it will help for my voice as well. I can sing high and low, but the 2 registers can not combine so that I can not sing on a normal woman voice. I have no voice in the middle of the 2 registers. The specialist said my vocal cord are rough. Is it necessary for a operation? The problem could be because of the nasal drip on the vocal cords, but do you treat it? I talk normal but like to sing. Sorry if my English is not the best
No surgery! It won’t help post nasal drip. I have had it my whole life and it is so annoying. A nose spray works the best. You have to try lots till you find the right one.
The worst time for post nasal drip is when you sleep so you need to put an air purifier next to your bed. That should help. Rinse your nose with saline when you come home. Don’t have dust in your home or old carpets and curtains. Keep your bedroom allergen clean. Wash any bedspreads or blankets every week and have an alleged free pillow.
Most females have to work hard with a voice teacher to balance the low and high registers. That id not necessarily related to post nasal drip.
Hope that helps.
Very happy to find this informative article and discussion. Post nasal drip is a constant concern in my singing. I definitely do have allergies, and that plays a role. It’s a constant balancing act between nasal rinses, decongestants and sometimes antihistamines. Mucinex somehow creates more mucus fore me. Yes, it’s thinner, but it tends to suddenly “flood” me. Nasal rinses help a lot, however if I do it daily it me out too much and affects my singing negatively. I use NeilMed rinse presently. I’m wondering if you have any ideas for me. Thank you!
Sometimes when you warm up you clean out mucus hanging out in your upper respiratory system. I would see a teacher to see what is going on. I would practice warming up in a straw. Google Ingo Titze straw phonation.
Why is it that when I warm up my voice my voice always sounds hoarssed and breathy I’m guessing it’s allergies or an upper respiratory infection but when I don’t warm up my voice for singing isn’t hoarsed can you help me
I have been dealing with a vocal tremor or dysphonia. Went for an MRI today and they discovered sinusitis. Do you think that could be causing my issues?
A vocal tremor is usually a neurological problem or caused by tension, what we call tension dysphonia. Please see a laryngologist and a speech therapist and ask for laryngeal massage. Sinusitis could contribute to tension but I’ve never heard of it causing a tremor. Where are you located? I could recommend a good doctor and SLP for you.
Don’t let this problem linger. You want immediate treatment.
All the best,
Am so happy to have found your website. I am a singer but not yet sure what it is exactly that I’m suffering from. My singing teacher seems to think I could have an allergy or that I may be suffering from acid reflux. All I know, is that I get this mucus which seems to be behind my nose and when I snort I can feel/hear it. Seems worse in the mornings and it’s affecting my singing, as sometimes during a performance when I take a breath I can feel it almost come up into my throat. I tried steaming a couple of times and it seemed to help a little bit and I also sleep with a humidifier by my bedside, but I’m not sure if that is making it worse.. I’m also a really bad snorer I’ve been told. Is there any advice you can give? I live in London and we don’t seem to get Mucinex here
Your teacher is right. Allergies will usually flare up in the morning but acid reflux can creep up behind the sinus cavity at night and reap havoc. I would eliminate certain foods to see if that helps and follow a reflex diet. Especially no food or alcohol, including wine, four hours before bed.
Hello, first of all I would like to thank you for this useful article.
I have been suffering from sinus infection for the last 4 years. Before I could sing with great agility but when I started having this problem my singing voice changed dramatically. I was very upset at the beginning and I was thinking that I had some problem with my vocal chords. Those first months were probably the worst of my life, because singing was amd will always be my true passion.
My problem is that I sing from the mask (as it is mentioned) and I always feel like I cannit breathe properly.
My biggest mistake is that I have been forcing my voice so much to sound like it used to sound so I often feel some kind of in my vocal chords.
Since the day this probem started, I tend to sing with a ‘high larynx’ and I know this is bad.
Can you help me somehow by telling my what else I could do.
Thank you so much! Your answer means a lot to me!!
You may need surgery to clean out your sinus passages. If you’ve had a sinus infection for four years that is really bad. I have seen that before and a client of mine, after having surgery, was all better. Please see a doctor. It will be so hard to sing if your sinuses are infested.
All the best,
Hello, I sing professionally as well but haven’t been able to lately. My nasal passages are very dry and crusty and I have lots of phlegm. I also have head congestion. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning it feels like I have a big ball of gunk stuck in my throat. I did see a specialist and I didn’t have any thing on my vocal cords, but he did give me a nasal mist and omeprazole. Thanks for this platform.
You should use a nasal gel for your sinuses to keep them lubricated and you need to use Mucinex which is Guaifenesin, an expectorant that thins mucus. Just get the blue box with just that one ingredient in it. Then check your diet. Foods can cause mucus. Try eliminating dairy and wheat. If it is allergies, Allegra is the only antihistamine that doesn’t dry the throat and is preferred by otolaryngologists. Good luck!
So I have literally tried EVERYTHING. I’ve been to multiple ENT’s and specialist, had all diagnostics done, cameras and everything. Nobody can find anything but my sinuses feel plugged and I’ve lost like 3 octaves. Not to mention I can’t sing for very long without my voice getting exhausted! Is there any secret sauce remedy you can help me with??
I am so sorry you have suffered continuously. Three things you might check out: Are you a jaw clencher? It can affect your sinuses and your vocal cords negatively. Secondarily, which I suspect this could be, is that you are having silent reflux. At night it creeps up the esophagus and spills into the sinuses and vocal cords. Why I think this could be the case is that you voice is being so adversely affected. When I have reflux my sinuses and voice are a disaster the next day. The third possibility is food or environmental allergies. Does you nose run when you go outside or when you eat particular foods. Some people, when they drink wine or beer, get a stuffed nose. This is an example of a food allergy and a common one to boot. To check for food allergies I would google what foods tend to affect the sinuses and start eliminating them. Common ones are dairy, gluten and wine.
Hello Heather, just found your article while googling online trying to find something that would help my voice. I’m not a singer just a talker who can’t say a sentence without losing a word, just the sound of air comes out, and I have had this problem with my sinus drainage affecting my voice for a long time, it’s worse in the mornings. I’m an old guy and I decided a couple of years ago that I would try one last time to see if I could find something to cure this problem with my voice. I saw a doctor about it and he suggested I get my vocal cord pumped up. He said as we get older the vocal cord shrinks and develops wrinkles which will tend to catch the sinus drainage and affect the voice. Bottom line, I had the procedure done which is temporary and could last 6 months or 6 years, no guarantees. After months of voice exercises which became more and more tedious and time consuming, I’m back to square one still trying to find the magic cure. I was using the Mucinex for a while off and on but until I read your article I didn’t really have much faith in it. Do you have any words of wisdom for me.
Actually I do have advise, SING. You don’t have to have a singing voice but singing stretches the cords, keeps them nimble and slows down aging. I would also get a straw and make some woos in it. Watch this video about straw phonation: https://youtu.be/asDg7T-WT-0 It is amazing for the voice. When I wake up in the morning my voice sounds awful but once I start teaching my voice sounds newborn after doing the exercises and my post nasal drip improves. Please let me know how it goes.