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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!
23 Responses
Avatar universal
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
Avatar universal
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.  
Avatar universal
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...
Avatar universal
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.

Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal
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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