Rock singers have no major issues with a cracking voice—that’s how they’re supposed to sing. But it’s us non-singers who should worry about unlikely voice cracks.
Common reasons of cracking voice
An occasional voice crack caused by surprise is understandable. Not even Mariah Carey is exempt from it. What might cause you alarm is a kind of cracking that’s followed by pain, throat fluid, and a rise in body temperature. Some of the reasons may be:
1. Smoking. Smoking taxes your vocal chords, singer or non-singer. But rock screamers and misguided singers are likely to strain their throats. Over time, this results in a marked cracking in their voice.
2. Thyroid infection. This results in a cracked but deep-timbered voice. Sometimes it gets in the way of your swallowing mechanism too. What your doctor can do is to have your Thyroid gland scanned by ultrasound and look for lesions there.
3. Vocal chord nodules. A constant strain in your vocal chords creates callous around them. So when you speak your voice sounds raspy and broken. Other than singers, people who are likely to develop nodules in their throats are teachers, stage actors, cheer leaders, and preachers. In order to avoid this, you need to put your vocal chords to rest by refraining from shouting.
4. “Cold” voice. A cold voice results in cracking. It’s your voice’s way of warming itself before a singing engagement. Professional singers do this before a performance to ensure good voice quality.
5. Puberty. Boys aged 11 up go through a rapid growth phrase that affects their voice. It’s that period in their lives where everything on them grows. Growth hormones are behind this, no doubt. And this is going to fade away in due time.
6. Colds. Viral infection makes your tonsils swell, throat sore, and collect fluid in the area. It is often followed by itchiness and a slightly burning sensation.
How to avoid a cracking voice
A cracking voice brought on by puberty is unavoidable, otherwise you can avoid it before it gets serious. Too much voice cracking leads to vocal chord inflammation, and might even lead to throat cancer. Smokers are the likely candidates.
1. Avoid screaming. If you’re a rock singer, this means canceling your gigs in exchange for a well-deserved long break. But it may not mean well for your business and your band–unless you’re ready to change career, or change your musical style. Whatever the case, it’s your health that’s at stake here. You can’t keep on rocking forever with cancer in your throat.
2. Rest your voice. You shouldn’t take this to mean taking an absolute vow of silence. Even professional singers need to relax their vocal chords long enough for a belting fest over the next few days: So the voice that comes out of their mouth sounds much more marked and refined to the ears.
3. Don’t drink cold and hot water alternately. It’s not good for your vocal chords, nor is it good for your teeth. If you do it, you lose both—your voice and your teeth.
4. Speak and sing naturally using your own voice. Don’t push it too hard. Not all singers can belt out an Ella Fitzgerald, Celine Dion, or Laura Branigan. Sing within you vocal range and reach the notes. Meanwhile, speak in your own voice and not in somebody else’s: Don’t do an Alistair Cooke when you sound like Owen Wilson.
Speak softly but use words that carry weight. It’s no singing lesson, but you know what it means.