I am a 28 year-old female singer. I have hypothyroidism and it has really affected my voice. I have lost my high register and it sounds raspy and weak. Will it fully recover with treatment? Will I ruin it if I sing in the state is is now? Is there anything I can do?
Hypothyroidism is difficult to go through vocally, not only because it causes hoarseness but also because it is accompanied by low spirits. You can, YES, definitely and fully recover with treatment. Many of us have. Denyce Graves talks about her experience with it and she is singing wonderfully again. Until the thyroid is stabilized you need to take it easy, not singing in the extremes or forcing it in any way. You also need to be careful that you do not develop any compensatory habits from singing with swollen or irritated vocal cords. See a laryngologist and get his or her recommendation on whether or not you should sing on your vocal cords in their present condition. If you get the go ahead, work with a singing teacher who has experience with this disease as well as with vocal dysfunction in general, and also with a speech therapist your laryngologist recommends. Going slowly at this point will make you faster in the long run. Try not bring fear or anxiety to your singing and practice. That will create tension on the instrument. Work from a place of quiet, clear intention and patient faith. My endocrinologist explained to me that people with hypothyroidism have difficulty standing up for themselves and speaking against authoritative figures. He suggested I look at all the relationships in my life where this was the case and that I try to have all the difficult conversations I avoided because I was afraid of the outcome. I took that advice and it is one of the best things I ever did. It was a profound shift in the direction of having the full power of my voice in this life. I look at my thyroid disease as one of the hardest and best things that ever happened to me. My wish for you is that you will be gentle and persistent, allowing yourself to deepen and become a singer with a message and beauty beyond your wildest dreams.