Why Your Singing Voice Is a Barometer of Your Emotional State
Many singers aren’t aware that emotional stress can cause real malfunctions in their most precious instrument.
Studies have shown that even moderate emotional problems can limit a singer’s range and flexibility, and that more serious psychological issues can actually cause vocal pathologies like nodules and polyps to arise. Singers can sometimes fall into a negative loop where negative emotions cause medical voice problems, and then those medical problems create even more serious emotional reactions. As researcher Aronson once said, “The voice is the mirror of the personality…vocal parameters such as: voice quality, pitch, loudness, stress pattern, rate, pauses, articulation, vocabulary, syntax and content reflect life stressors, psychopathology and discreet emotions.”
A trained voice specialist understands that the lines between a singer’s psychology and technical function are often blurred, and focuses on treating the entire person and not just the vocal cords.
Singers can lose control over their voices due to mood or anxiety disorders, as well as other problems including:
- Polar Depression
- General Anxiety
- Performance Anxiety
- Attention Deficit Disorders (or the medications used to treat them)
- Eating Disorders including Anorexia
- Substance Abuse
Psychological problems that can contribute to medical problems include:
- Acute infections: Laryngitis, Sinusitis, Bronchitis
- Chronic Conditions: Allergies, Asthma, TMJ, Muscle Tension Dysphonia
- Vocal cord pathologies: Nodules, polyps
In working with professional singers, actors or public speakers who rely on their voices to make a living, Dr. Korovin looks carefully at the strong links between emotional, vocal and medical states. That includes taking a complete patient history, doing a physical exam, being mindful that the patient may be taking drugs that cause interactions, dry out the voice or cause sleeplessness or hemorrhages. At times after evaluating the patient in her New York practice, Dr. Korovin will often refer him or her out to another specialist to look more deeply into a psychological issue.