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Viral Infections and Singing – More from Dr. Chang

Continued from our feature

We asked Dr. Chang to explain more deeply the effect of viral infections and singing.

He said, “In order for voice production to occur, the lining of the vocal cords vibrates very quickly when they come together. If the vocal cords are swollen, they don’t vibrate as easily.”

There’s not necessarily “different” viral infections (there are different viruses, but the end effect is essentially the same), but rather different degrees of severity, Chang said.

For mild illnesses, there can be a slight swelling of the vocal cords and a slight rasp to voice, with mild pitch range limitations.

For moderate illnesses, there can be significant swelling of the vocal cords. The voice will sounds deeper in pitch with rasp and a loss of upper range.

For severe illnesses, there can be significant swelling of vocal cords with erythema. The voice will be deeper than normal and nearly gone, and a very limited vocal range will be present.

Horrible illness situations will be similar to severe but will include ulceration of the vocal cord mucosal lining.

“The more severe, the longer it will take for resolution and more aggressive the medical treatment which may include not just voice rest, but prednisone steroids,” Chang said.

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