She’s been called the next Mariah Carey or the next Whitney Houston because of her eight octave vocal range. If you haven’t heard Ariana Grande’s amazing voice then you will have to wait because the hot new pop star has just been silenced. That’s right! After a loud, late night party, Ariana awoke with hoarseness. A visit to the voice doctor showed a vocal hemorrhage. What exactly is a vocal hemorrhage? How did she get it? How is it treated? And, most importantly, will we be able to hear her sing again?
Vocal hemorrhages occur from vocal cord trauma. A forceful impact can cause blood vessels within the layers of the vocal cords to bleed and cause a bruise similar to the type that happens under your nail when you slam your finger in the door. Hemorrhages can occur during prolonged voice use; yelling, screaming and forced voice use; or, even during routine use when there is inflammation or infection associated with laryngitis. Ariana tweeted “For those of u asking about my voice I screamed too much at my party totally irresponsible…”
Vocal cord hemorrhages, like Ariana’s and Adele’s and are not uncommon. In an interview on Inside Edition, Dr. Yagoda said, “Just like athletes, singers are at risk of injury from high levels of performance and even overexertion.” Generally not painful, vocal hemorrhages are typically associated with painless hoarseness of the speaking and/or singing voice. A visit to an otolaryngologist (ears, nose and throat doctor) specializing in care of the professional voice is in order. Proper diagnosis is made by endoscopy (a special lighted and magnified examination of the vocal cords during phonation). The use of steroids (often given for other causes of hoarseness) must be avoided as they can both cause the bleeding to increase, and they can mask other symptoms. Treatment of a vocal cord hemorrhage entails complete voice rest for up to two weeks, with interval endoscopic exams used to monitor the hemorrhage until it is gone.
By following the doctor’s prescription for complete voice rest, Ariana will likely have a long, monumental career. Failure to heed that advice can result in a premature and devastating end of her budding career.