Justin Timberlake first proved his pop star credentials as one of the two lead lead vocalists and youngest member of NSYNC, one of the best-selling boybands to come out of the 90s. While going at it alone has often proven to be an ill-fated move for ex-boyband members, Timberlake’s solo success defied the odds. Throughout his solo career, Timberlake has sold over 32 million albums and 56 million singles globally, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists.
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Justin’s vocal talent has at times been a double-edged sword, however.
In 2013, the pop star announced he would be postponing his December shows while he recovered from bruised vocal cords.
Opening about his condition at the time on Instagram, he said: “My vocal cords are healing but they are not back to normal yet.
“I’m really sorry. I want to be back on stage and I am doing all I can to get there quickly.”
What are the vocal cords?
The vocal cords are two bands of elastic muscle tissue.
They are located side by side in the voice box (larynx) just above the windpipe (trachea).
How can they become bruised?
As Harvard Health explains, like other tissues in the body, vocal cords can be strained and damaged. Vocal cords are also subject to infections, tumours and trauma.
“When you speak, the air you exhale from your lungs is forced through the closed vocal cords, explains the health site.
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The health site continues: “This causes them to vibrate. They vibrate faster for higher-pitched sounds, slower for lower-pitched sounds.”
Harvard Health says that strained vocal cords generally aren’t noticed until the problem becomes severe.
People who use their voices for a living, such as Justin, or who shout or scream frequently are at particular risk.
“People who work in noisy environments that require shouting to communicate are also at risk,” it adds.
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What are the signs and symptoms of bruised vocal chords?
Signs and symptoms may include:
- A breathy quality to the voice
- Noisy breathing
- Loss of vocal pitch
- Choking or coughing while swallowing food, drink or saliva
- The need to take frequent breaths while speaking
- Inability to speak loudly
- Loss of your gag reflex
- Ineffective coughing
- Frequent throat clearing
How to treat vocal cord problems
According to Mayo Clinic, treatment of vocal cord problems depends on the cause, the severity of symptoms and the time from the onset of symptoms.
“Treatment may include voice therapy, vocal cord injections, surgery or a combination of treatments,” explains the health site.
In some instances, you may get better without surgical treatment.
For this reason, your doctor may delay permanent surgery for at least a year from the beginning of your vocal cord paralysis, explains Mayo Clinic.
However, surgical treatment with vocal cord injections containing collagen-like substances is often done within the first three months of voice loss.
What are vocal cord injections?
A vocal cord injection is a procedure in which a filling agent is injected into your vocal cord to augment your vocal cord.
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