I'm 20 years old and a physically healthy male. Four years ago I decided I wanted a raspy voice because it sounded cool. In order to permanently cement it, I began screaming into pillows, .etc and even smoked a bit for that purpose. But after 8 months or so of doing this my voice changed. Yes, it was unwise.
I don't scream or smoke anymore but my voice seems to have never recovered from those days. I have seen two separate ENT specialists and both said they couldn't see anything "structurally wrong" with my vocal cords.
Here are my symptoms:
-Severe raspiness at lower ranges and higher volumes
-Supporting the voice with "chest voice" or "diaphragmatic breathing" (as one learns in voice training) yields atonal growls
-Must use excessive muscular effort to project my voice across a room
-Pitch instability when sustaining a pitch and drastic voice breaks when sliding from pitch to pitch
-Feeling of discomfort, inflexibility, strain, almost like a grinding feeling in my throat when talking at normal pitch
-Voice very quickly fatigues (within a minute or two of talking)
After quick googling, I would think it was vocal nodules. But apparently a symptom for that is the vocal range deteriorates as you go higher. Mine is the opposite. It seems I have lost the ability to vocalize in my lower ranges. Here is a recording:
1st example is me saying, at normal speaking pitch "hey" and then extending the hey out. I get various cracks and pitch instability as practically every part of my range except for the higher areas.
2nd example is me saying, at normal speaking pitch, "hey" and then extending the "hey". But this time, I'm opening my throat like I'm yawning or mimicking an opera singer. Before my voice got damaged, yawning like this made my voice exceptionally clean and warm in tone.
Then I repeat the extension of the "hey" at my lower pitch and one of my highest pitches.
To my uneducated self, it sounds like my vocal cords are vibrating properly at my higher range but just don't work at all in the lower ranges. Try as a might, with every level of relaxation and throat position, I cannot seem to get that "free" sounding oscillation and healthy release at any level of my range below "head voice" in singing terms. As pitch goes down, the notes get more and more hoarse until... Well you heard the recording.
Any medical insight would be great because I am completely in the dark and the internet is unusually offering me no answers whatsoever.
If you have seen two ENT doctors and feel from their lack of ideas that no ENT doctor can help you, see instead an actor's coach who specializes in the voice, or an opera singer's coach. Listen to his or her recommendations and go see whomever he or she recommends. Specializing in the voice is different than specializing in ENT. That said, I would not write off all ENT doctors because two of them could not help you.
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