What are singer’s nodes?

Kenneth Altman, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

Singer’s nodes or nodules are similar to calluses on the vocal cords. When you speak or sing (“phonate”) your vocal cords vibrate and hit each other between 100 – 1,000 times per second. This contact is called collision force and means just that. The way you use your voice can affect the amount of collision force. Generally, speaking/singing louder and higher in pitch creates more collision force. Just like your hands do when you first rake leaves each fall, the vocal cords react to this trauma by creating calluses, usually one on each vocal cord right opposite each other. Nodules make the voice drop in pitch.

Singers especially will notice changes in the ‘feeling’ of their voice, especially on high, soft notes. Nodules by themselves are not dangerous, but they do affect the voice. People who have had them for a while begin to ‘push’ the voice, making it easy to fatigue as the day goes on. Treatments for nodules include voice therapy, and in more severe cases surgery. However, in all cases you must be taught how to change the way you use the voice, or they will simply re-form.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.