Nodules and singers. Striking fear into the heart of most vocalists, nodules have earned wide-spread renown, but are mostly misunderstood by voice users. Nodules generally occur as a result of poor muscular function (e.g. MTD) or by using the voice during a time of compromised health (e.g. laryngitis). Similar to small calluses on the outer edge of the vocal folds, nodules are small benign swellings (typically bi-lateral) that interrupt the vocal fold ripple wave. Soft nodules (early in development) are often resolved with voice therapy, but if the swellings have been allowed to persist and harden, and if time is pressing (i.e. if a singer is on tour and ‘the show must go on’), then surgical removal might be entertained as a quick-fix solution. Leading Otolaryngologist, Dr Robert T. Sataloff (2006) writes, “Vocal nodules resolve with proper voice use and should be treated with voice modification and relative voice rest, including avoidance of vocally abusive activities” (p. 255). Even when surgery is the chosen option, voice therapy (both spoken and singing) is highly recommended as the remedial route for learning new vocal habits designed to diminish the chance of the nodules redevelopment.
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