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Hoarse voice/singer
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Hoarse voice/singer

I was was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism about two years ago and have been on daily medication since. I still have a hoarse voice and pain in the throat region when I talk and/or sing. I am a singer and my range has drastically decreased making it nerely impossible to sing. I was told by my doctor that I have a badly swollen voice box and was encouraged to drink tea and avoid caffine. After several months, I have seen no progress/change. What could be an additional cause to my voice problems? What can I do to get my singing voice and range back? I have a large gig in August that I need to prepare for, and I'm not sure what steps to take. Any direction would be helpful.
Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Holly,
Just seen your post - I am also a singer and have thyroid problems.  I have the same symptoms of hoarse voice and loss of vocal range and for me who has been a singer and voice teacher all my life this is devastating.  Did you get advice?  What happened?
Lorna
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Avatar_m_tn
If I were in your positions, I think the first thing I would want to be sure of is that I was getting enough thyroid med. to alleviate my hypo t symptoms.  To achieve that I would get the doctor to check my free T3 and free T4 and TSH levels and prescribe enough of the right kind of medications to get my free T3 in the upper part of its range and the TSH in the very low part of its range.   Hopefully that might get your voice back to where it was before hypothyroid problems.  If you have actual numbers from blood testing, please post the results and their ranges and members can give you recommendations.   Another thought that comes to mind is allergies, which can cause irritation and hoarseness.  
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Avatar_f_tn
An enlarged thyroid can cause voice changes due to pressure on the laryngeal nerve, the nerve that goes to the larynx (voice box).  Anything that reduces the enlargement (goiter) will improve the voice.  Easier said than done...
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been having the same problem for the past several weeks.  My vocal range has decreased.  Singing causes pain and tightness on both sides of my throat near my tonsils, and in both ears, and even a mild headache. I've been singing in choirs for over 30 years and have never experienced this before.  I'd never heard the link with a hypothyroid, which I also have.  I guess I need to get my thyroid checked out.
Best wishes to you!

If anybody has a solution, let me know.  I know doctors can't always figure out my health problems....even Mayo doctors I've been to.  I sometimes find the answers to health problems on the internet, so I guess I better start looking, until I can get in to see a doctor.

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Avatar_f_tn
Folks, I had hoarseness and swallowing issues, I am also a singer and vocal teacher.  I started getting hoarse after a few hours of singing, it steadily got worse.  I had four nodules, three on right and one on left.  I figured that the nodules were squeezing and irritating the recurrant laryngeal nerves that run through the thyroid.  I decided to have the right half removed after a benign follicular cluster diagnosis from a biopsy.  That's when they found small cancers in my thyroid tissue (yes, despite the benign diagnosis).  I then had the other half removed, I had 5 tumors in all, largest one was 1.5 cm.  I have had no hoarseness or swallowing issues since the thyroid came out, although the big test will be in the coming few weeks when I return to my semi-professional choir for rehearsals.  But I have been teaching and see no loss of range or function.  I HAD A GREAT SURGEON!  If you chose to take the thyroid out or have any thing done, get a good surgeon, one who does at least 50 thyroids a year, because if they damage those recurrent laryngeal nerves, you will never sing again.  My surgeon left a thin film of tissue around the nerves, then we destroyed that leftover tissue with a dose of RAI.  Hypothyroidism can also make your voice hoarse, but pain is something I never had, I would suggest you get an ultrasound to check for nodules, and a biopsy if you have any.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
It sounds like you have been through the ringer!  I am sure this must have been very difficult and scary!  I am happy to hear things seem to be working out so well now.  I was very interested in your story.  Here's mine ... (Sorry!  It's very lengthy, but I am desperate and scared that I have permanently lost the best part of my vocal range.)
48-year-old Soprano diagnosed with hypothyroidism 3 years ago.  Mostly taking synthroid ever since.  Had the typical symptoms before diagnosis, including mild hoarseness.  Singing in large chorus for 8 years, performing challenging/strenuous music.  Up to 2 years ago, able to vocalize to D#/E, and generally able to sing C/C#s as needed.  Always noticed hoarseness when over-singing, but things became noticably worse ~ 20 months ago, when I would get hoarse at the drop of a hat.  This lasted for several months and led to several laryngoscopies that revealed a small mid-point polyp on right vocal cord.  Continued to grow even after 3 months of therapy, so made the difficult decision to have the polyp surgically removed (end of last December).  Surgery went well, but healing ... not so much!  After 10 days of full vocal rest, post-op visit revealed 2 HUGE granulomas that rendered my voice a whisper.  After a powerful round of steroids and ANOTHER 12 days of vocal rest, things began to improve quickly (granulomas eventually disappeared).  Voice continued to improve through big performance season in May, but began to take a turn for the worse in June.  I noticed that I was getting hoarse very easily again and my symptoms were actually worse than pre-surgery.  I can almost always vocalize to a D/D# and can generally sing normally up to a B for 5 minutes or so.  But, without fail, I quickly begin losing everything above an F/F#, unless singing forte or above.  One hour later, I am fine again for another 5 minutes.  Two more laryngoscopies revealed some slight cord swelling and irritation, but no polyps or nodes.  Symptoms and lumps on bottom of cords indicated reflux, but even after making a lot of lifestyle changes and 3 months more of voice therapy, THERE HAS BEEN NO IMPROVEMENT!  I am hopeful that appointments next week with my former voice teacher and voice pathologist will reveal something new.  Have really been wondering if something is going on with my thyroid, though, which could explain why nothing is being seen via the laryngoscopies.  Could I have a situation like yours without it affecting my thyroid hormone levels?  I really think a thyroid ultrasound might be in order.
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Avatar_m_tn
i havent actually been diagnosed with thyroid problems but im getting bloodwrk soon. it wasn till recently that i started noticing fatigue, dry brittle hair, pain near what would be my adam's apple if i was a guy and noww my voice ( i am a singer) just sounds.. bad. like i was good before. and now im not. dont know whats going onnn. do you think it couldd be because of my thyroid? and i want my singing voice back! :(
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Avatar_f_tn
I had my right lobe removed in Feb 2010, and I was diagnosed with papillary follicular carcinoma.  I am a singer of 30 years.  Take note that all my TSH tests came back normal.  You cannot judge by the blood tests.  I struggled singing for the last year and my hair was also brittle and I gained 18 pounds in a year. I developed a 4 inch nodule on the right lobe, it was huge and at first was thought to be benign, but within the 4 inch nodule appeared 3 small cancerous nodes. On a positive note, once removed, I am singing better than ever, however, now it is time to get the left side removed, which makes me a little nervous.  My surgeon is excellent, so hopefully the 2nd surgery will go as well as the first.  Again blood test or biopsies don't always show the true picture.
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Avatar_f_tn
For the past year my doctor has commented that my thyroid is enlarged when he sees me (I guess he doesn't remember previously telling me) but my concern is that he has performed blood work on me and nothing seems out of ordinary so he doesn't follow up on it and I'm not one to tell him "I want more testing". So my question is why is it so difficult for bloodwork to reflect abnormalities in function? And if it is not a good indicator then what is? Would it be a combination of several tests?
I'm 28 and am very tired of loosing hair, breaking nails, dry skin, always having to take some form of upper (coffee, energy pills, diet pills) to be able to feel somewhat normal. Otherwise I feel so tired even after a good night's sleep. Some times I just feel so sad but I always snap myself out of it. I have no significant things in my life to cause depression so I can't explain it until I researched thyroid problems because I remembered my doctor mentioned it being enlarged and it described my symptoms.
Another thing that prompted me to recently research  it is because for the past 3 weeks or so I feel food "stuck" in my throat, even after several hours have past since last eating! I can go to sleep and wake up with the same feeling (water doesn't help). Also I've noticed that I can't hold a note when singing as I used to. My singing voice just isn't the same.
Also, my parents have not been diagnosed with thyroid problems but they are not the "seek out medical help" type but my dad's brother's and sister have been diagnosed but barely now after suffering with it all of their life. PLEASE any help is greatly appreciated....

Belinda
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Avatar_m_tn
Please post whatever thyroid test results and reference range information you have.  Also, your post will get a lot more response if you click on the "Post A Queston" button at the top of the first page, and start a new thread under your own name.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am also having singing problems.   When you say you can't hold a note do you mean it wavers pitch?   I can't hold pitch and my voice has dropped about an octive.   I've had a video of my vocal cords and they are fine.  I'vve been in voice therapy for 6 weeks with the therapist working on muscle tension and breath support.   I've seen no progress.  Actually I've gotten worse.   I mentioned to her this past week could it be a my thyroid possibly pressing on the laryngeal nerve causing my pitch problems and octive change.   I also feel like I have a lump in my throat off and on along with the feeling that my tongue is swollen.  I've had to stop singing in my quartet and vocal group.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm also a singer and still an occasional soloist.  In any event, the lead singer / soprano.  As I age, I notice my vocal range lessens.  

However, I've been hoarse a lot--and I have attributed it to singing low notes (under middle F) too loudly (carrying a timid choir).

With my recent thyroid supplementation, I wonder if that's the cause or if it is something else. With Easter coming, I'm considering temporarily dropping the Armour so I can sing through the next week.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi All,

I'm just wondering if any of you who have vocal issues following thyroid surgery have sought help from a voice teacher and what they have said, or if it has helped.

I am a voice teacher and direct a choir.One of my altos had her thyroid removed and literally has no notes above a certain point. She opens her mouth and nothing comes out. I have this very strange and dont know where to begin.

Thanks!
Eric
***@****
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all.  I have just found out I have hyperthyroidism but noticed previously I could no longer hold a note and sometimes could not even find the right note.  For someone who has sung all her life and in a wide range this was mortifying. My lower range if fine which is great if you are singing along to Cher but most other things are out of the question.  I have a hospital appointment in October and find myself hoping for surgery after your posts. It would be great to get my voice back.  I feel it defines me and I'm a lesser person without it.  Don't perform but just enjoy singing.
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Avatar_m_tn
Belle,

It's been a while since your post, but I'm replying in case you're still suffering. I'd like to suggest that you make sure your doctor is testing your Free T4 as well as your TSH. Check out the following link for test ranges and what they mean.  http://thyroid.about.com/cs/newsinfo/l/bltest_values.htm

My previous doctor had been checking my TSH on a yearly basis ever since my now 23 year old son was born. Every test came out in the "normal" range. It wasn't until about five years ago that I discovered Mary Shomon's about.com site which referenced the NEW normal TSH range that most labs don't use (and this range was suggested by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists).

I was put on Armour Thyroid (a natural, not synthetic thyroid med) and soon began to feel much better. I had all the normal hypothyroid symptoms, plus some less common ones including joint pain (which showed up at night and woke me five or six times each night) and hearing loss (which I only figured out after the fact when my normal volume setting on the car radio suddenly became WAY too loud).

I've had my dosage increased a couple of times in the past few years, and recently had a T4 med added to my routine.  My newest symptom is a "gravely voice."  I've been taking Armour plus T4 for a week and a half now...

I'm still waiting for my voice to come back.

Taylor
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Avatar_f_tn
It's been awhile since this thread was active I suppose but I have been desperately scouring the internet in the hopes of finding the cause of my vocal changes so figured I'd leave a response.

I'm 28 and female. Several years ago I was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid... after two radioactive iodine treatments I was finally declared hypothyroid and have been on Synthroid supplements ever since. To my dismay, about a year ago while singing with some friends I noticed my voice was completely lacking the control, strength and range I used to have. I attributed it to being "out of practice" but have seen no improvement since.

Now I lack confidence that I can find or hit the right note whereas it used to be fairly instinctual, I have no ability to sustaining a note anymore (I feel out of breath), my voice has lost its strength in the upper ranges (especially when using my chest voice), and just last night a standard amount of screaming/cheering at an event destroyed my voice in a way I've never experienced in my life. My normal speaking voice feels grittier than it used to and there is a slight discomfort when conversing - like I no longer have a "natural" voice and have to choose between something lower or higher than what I really want to use. Finding this thread has given me a bit of hope - so thank you all. Just knowing that it's likely my thyroid helps.

One of the theories is that the destruction of the thyroid affects the muscles around the vocal box. Perhaps our voices simply need to be retrained with the new throat "anatomy." I plan on asking my endocrinologist next time I see her. I'll be sure to update if anything improves! Good luck to you all... stay strong!
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Avatar_f_tn
Whoops, by "One of the theories" I meant one of MY (non medical background) theories...!
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Avatar_n_tn
Eeek.  What happened to my post??    I spent 20 minutes replying and explaining my experience since taking T3.  Please post it and not this.  And if this posts, last poster, please PM me because I simply cannot go throught the whole thing again.
thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I wrote a long post but it disappeared.  I've used T3 only and now am up to 125 mcg at bedtime only.  My voice is back and better.  My high range is better.  No hoarseness.  Still pretty voice.  I did use HC for a long time, but it gave me a buffalo hump and a butt cheek hump (that triangle/diamond shape).  Now I only take HC when under extreme stress when I can feel the adrenaline.

But, I really attribute the T3 to my regaining my voice.  The way I take it is simply what works for me.  Most people insist that several times a day is crucial. I felt awful when I took divided doses.
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The best tool to evaluate your condition is digital stroboscopy. You will ask to sing while a camera (looking like a smog test probe) will capture the images of your vocal folds movements and vocal cord thickness. As was mentioned couple times, hypothyroidism causes thickening of the vocal folds and nerve damage causes erratic movement of them.
The RAI for Grave’s causes “melting” of the inner thyroid tissue, the thyroid envelope shrinks and hardens. In addition, especially when given at young age, it accelerates ossification of the voice box cartilage, changing its shape in some cases.
(Neck x-ray can show ossifications). In some cases a nodule can grow from residual thyroid tissue and cause above symptoms.
So the following tests may be needed: video stroboscopy, neck x-ray or neck ultrasound (preferred).
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow it is truly a blessing that you have shared this. I have sang soprano all my life. Now after having two surgeries and being left without a thyroid I struggle to sing high pitches. I did not understand why and became very frustrated. i was told that my surgery would not affect my voice. sometimes it really hurts when try to sing high pitches. sometimes I cough and it feels like stones are in my throat. Anyway I really appreciate all of you for sharing this because now i know why this is happening. It is my prayer that the Lord God Almighty blessed you and rejuvenates your voices. In the Mighty Name of Jesus I declare wholeness over your vocal chords and trust that they are healed by His stripes.God bless you!!!
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