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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy, Voice and Song: The Artistic Voice and the first symptoms of menopause

Symptoms of menopause can arise as early as in the second half of the fourth decade of life, as late as in the second half of the fifth decade.

Having had the opportunity to work with singers of this age group and having dealt with phonologists and vocal coaches on the subject, it emerged that certainly the most critical factor to restore and maintain in this phase is precisely the correct vocalization.

In the literature, studies on female voice and menopause are very recent, especially as regards vocalizing in a healthy way as the voice goes through physical changes.

Over the years I have found that the emotional frustration that comes from this 'problem' can be overwhelming and the need to establish a good collaboration between a phoniatrist, vocal coach and osteopath becomes even more important. The best that can be done from an osteopathic point of view is to constantly monitor the vocal box set-up, in concert with the figures mentioned above to follow and accompany these physiological changes so that the function is always optimal and consequently, the voice do not come out with major alterations. Very often these artists also need psychological support to deal with this period, but the need for support tools that assist in recovering the vocal confusion caused by hormonal changes remains fundamental. Alan Lindquest, one of the leading researchers in voice disorders, compared menopause to vocal changes in boys, because both phenomena have to do with major hormonal changes. These changes require drastic adjustments in how the voice is to be vocalized.

The following list shows some of the vocal symptoms related to menopause. Some singers may suffer from all of these ailments, while others only have one or two. The intention should simply be to help identify your specific vocal difficulties in this transition period.

Vocal symptoms in menopause:

  • The voice becomes dry and less flexible

  • The high vocal range suffers because the upper passage becomes more difficult to manage (this is due to an incorrect vocalization of the middle register)

  • Lower break between the head register and chest register. The gap becomes larger and more difficult to manage

  • The head register loses color and can become weak

  • The voice becomes pushed due to the imbalance and inconstancy of the middle register

  • The larynx assumes a higher position in the middle register, sometimes accompanied by a large sound gap where the strings have changed the inclination. Lack of proper string adduction creates insecurity in this range.

  • The chest voice becomes further dark due to the pressure of the tongue and the use of the stiffer chordal mass than normal softness.

  • General hardness of tone. Stiffness due to the tension of the laryngeal musculature, often accompanied by a vocal oscillation. The singer may also report general presence of hardness (rigidity) in the voice

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