Vocal Fatigue: My Experience

This blog post is about something I’ve dealt with for a long time. As someone who sings and practices scales every day, I’ve experienced some sort of vocal fatigue due to enlargement of my Adam’s apple, or so I thought. I’ve gone through these issues since puberty. My voice was the target of bullying and misgendering, and I was also the subject and target of all sorts of offensive slurs against LGBTQIA+ people. Some of my own friends could easily overpower me by simply talking above me without getting any hoarseness or raspiness, whereas I would quickly get tired if I were to do the same. I have done a lot of research on the voice and vocal fatigue since then, and what it can do for someone like me who is a singer, and society’s emphasis on masculinity vs femininity, as well as those who are androgynous. It’s amazing how a voice that is perceived to be masculine on a man gives the illusion that that man with the masculine sounding voice is to be more respected by society, and he is more likely to be taken seriously. Statistics have also shown that women find men with more masculine and deeper sounding voices as more attractive, and they are more likely to have a wider selection of partners, and they are also a lot more likely to keep whatever partner they have and are also a lot more likely to be mated and have children and a family with. This article mentions that women near ovulation are more likely to find masculine voices attractive, even though most people with such a voice are not likely to be invested in their children.

Guys with more feminine voices, however, tend to get bullied and are targeted for being gay and are treated more violently–not just by those outside of the LGBTQIA+ community, but also more harshly by those in the gay community as well. Guys with voices that society at large perceive to be more feminine and girly are seen as people to be held in contempt and disdain and are less likely to get respect from their peers. I’ve been called everything in the book from “fagot”, “tranny”, “fudge packer”, to name a few. You name it, I’ve probably been called it. I’ve also found myself in situations where name calling has turned into actual jeopardizing of my safety, and I’ve also been targeted for my disability in addition to all of that. You would think that having a pretty big Adam’s apple or even an Adam’s apple that gets enlarged when your thyroid gets enlarged would cause a deepening of the voice, after all it should make sense logically, right? The larger your Adam’s apple, the deeper and more masculine a man’s voice becomes. But that’s not true. It didn’t happen to me. The Adam’s apple, as I’ve found through tons of hours of research on the topic of the male anatomy, as well as through a local voice clinic I go to, I can conclude that the Adam’s apple has nothing to do with the voice. According to an article published on this topic upon surfing the net, I came across a Godsend in an article that talks about Adam’s apple pain and throat discomfort, which can be found here.
The article clearly states, among other things, that the Adam’s apple serves no specific function. Therefore, it can be removed without any harm or permanent damage done to the vocal cords. Many transgender women have a tracheal shave as part of their transition to change the contours of their appearance. In my case, my Adam’s apple has served me no use and has not done what it was intended to do, which was to give me a more masculine and deeper sounding voice. Besides, when I sing really high notes, my Adam’s apple must raise a little so I can reach those notes. But sometimes this causes me much pain and discomfort. Just touching my Adam’s apple is enough to cause waves of nausea to overcome me.
As if that weren’t bad enough, when I got my throat tested, they found that my vocal chords suffered trauma, which was caused quite frankly from my vocal cords not fully developing as an infant and into childhood. You’d think that puberty would’ve fixed that, but then again to even suggest that puberty could fix something is being way too optimistic. To expect anything about puberty to be a blessing is quite simply nothing less than either a beautiful dream or a far-fetched fantasy. To put it simply, puberty sucks for guys just as much as it sucks for gals and nonbinary pals. Guys are supposed to be the big strong men, we’re expected to be hunters, and we’re expected to be protectors. We’re expected to not show any emotions and keep everything bottled up inside; is it really any wonder why guys have been statistically and scientifically proven to be more violent and shoot up schools because of being bullied to the point of wanting to get revenge? It’s so screwed up how our society views boys and men, and how it’s so frowned upon to show emotions at any point in life. If you’re a guy, and you dare show any type of emotion, or you shed a tear because other guys pick on you and even rape or sexually assault you, you’re told to grow up, shut up, and take it like a man.
Here’s a better idea, how about instead of blaming the victim, how about we start telling the bullies to grow up and learn to keep their hands to themselves and leave people alone! That’s a different story for a different time. So, getting back to me and my pain, because this post is about me, well, it’s about me and many other people in my position anyways, so vocal fatigue and trauma, etc. When my vocal cords were tested and found to have had damaged tissue, I was told that there were some things they could do to fix it via botox fillers. They said that medicaid could cover it, but not right away, at least in Colorado anyways. The doc who tested my vocal cords told me that I first needed to do some time with speech therapy. Did I mention this doc was a guy? That shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things until it actually does matter, which it does. Yet again we have another situation of a doc who thinks he knows more than someone who actually studies voice and vocal issues. I am a singer after all, so I’ve better know a thing or two about my own voice and my own throat and the pain I experienced when I sing. I’m so sick of doctors who think they know everything, and they look at you like you’re crazy or stupid. I have an expression, and I’ll share it with you now. I might not have a college degree, but I have a degree in myself. Don’t tell me that because you went to college for however many years that that gives you licence to think you can tell me things about me when you’ve never met me, you don’t know anything about me, and you haven’t experienced the pain I’ve experienced. Unless you are really a singer and know what it takes to be able to sing clearly and effortlessly, please keep your opinions to yourself.
Just the other day, I stumbled upon an article from Mayo Clinic, and most of the stuff relating to vocal fatigue and vocal cord paralysis applied to me, including

  • Hoarseness and raspiness
  • Breathy voice quality
  • Noisy breathing
  • Ineffective coughing and frequent throat-clearing
  • Unable to talk loudly
  • And having to take breaths more frequently

As far as I know, I don’t think I have any malignant or benign tumours, although as I had said, I had some surgeries to help with my breathing, because I was frequently choking on my own saliva, and I also had a stroke about two years ago.
I’ll see if meeting with a speech therapist will help me to build a stronger case for medicaid to do the procedures I’m asking them to do. I’ve had enough of doctors shutting me down. They did it numerous times when I tried to get my enlarged tonsils removed. It got so bad that I nearly choked and could’ve very well died had I not persisted and fought and prevailed. I’m not giving up this fight!

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