How Do You Heal Hoarseness?

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Q: I have sung for almost 20 years and about 2 years ago I started playing gigs (both solo and in a band) at bars, clubs, and other social venues, many of which were filled with smoke. At first, I didn't think much of it. I would increase my fluids and rest my voice the next day, and I would be fine. However, now I have a permanent hoarseness in my voice that will not go away, no matter what I try. It sounds as if there is my voice, and then an airy background to it that is only there when I sing, but always there. Will your method help (or fix) my predicament? I sing pretty much everything, from classical to rock, and I am also
in a choir

A: Yes, I work a lot with singers and speakers with these kinds of issues.  Any time we get discomfort, surrounding muscles compensate. For example, when you hurt your foot you start limping when you attempt to move forward - i.e. other muscles compensate.  When you experience discomfort, pain, strain, or hoarseness in your voice, other muscles compensate in an attempt to produce sound.  If we don’t do things to create balance, the condition becomes worse and it takes more and more effort to produce sound until it is chronic. The key is to rebalance, strengthen and free the muscles so you can create free resonating sound again with less effort than before. My Sing With Freedom home study course deal with these issues extensively too. Also see the article on hoarseness :  Why Your Voice Gets Hoarse