If you can’t sing anymore, chances are that you’ve experienced a change in the body parts responsible for generating your voice.
While some of these changes are natural and unavoidable, others are temporary or fixable.
There are a number of different problems that could cause you to lose your singing voice.
Hopefully, you can use this list of 10 reasons to figure out which one applies to you.
Why Can’t I Sing Anymore?
1. You’ve Suffered From An Injury (Or Other Condition)
Your anatomy is what determines the quality and pitch of your voice.
Everyone has a unique voice, and that’s because no two people are alike anatomically.
If you’ve suffered from an injury, your body will respond to the changes.
In some cases, this may affect your voice.
Since vocal folds (vocal cords) are the main body part responsible for our voices, any injury or change to the vocal fold can compromise your ability to sing.
Fibrosis is like scarring, and it describes a buildup or thickening of connective tissue.
This tissue buildup can affect our ability to sing.
Thicker, tougher vocal folds will change the way the vocal folds vibrate.
This, in turn, will affect the sound that comes out when we sing.
Vocal folds aren’t the only body part that makes us capable of singing.
Injuries to the throat or mouth can also prevent you from singing.
Singing requires a precise balance of several different actions, and a disruption to any one of them can easily be heard by even the most amateur audience.
2. You Haven’t Practiced
While you may be a naturally talented singer, this doesn’t exclude you from needing practice.
Perhaps you used to sing regularly.
Singing is no different than any other activity in that you have to practice to improve.
Professional singers are known to train and practice for as many four or five hours a day.
Pro singers are among the most talented, hardest-working singers in the world.
Certainly, if they’re dedicating several hours a day to singing, you can afford to do some practicing, too.
Singing is, in many ways, like a sport.
Not only is there a creative, artistic aspect to it, but there is also a muscular one.
You need to train your vocal folds in order to be able to sing well.
Even if you have the natural ability, you may have gotten rusty.
A little practice can go a long way when it comes to regaining your singing voice.
Just as if you were training to get stronger, you’d want to commit to a regular exercise routine.
You may also notice you’re able to sing well for short periods.
Again, this may be due to being out of practice and to your body’s fatigue.
A simple solution to your singing woes can be as simple as a bit of practice.
Though simple, don’t expect your results to be immediate.
Be patient as you retrain your voice and all those muscles.
It will take time for your body to grow and adapt to these changes, but you’ll build up your vocal strength and be singing well again soon.
3. You’ve Gone Through Puberty
It’s common knowledge that our voices change as we undergo puberty.
This is a change that’s particularly noticeable in teenage males.
The cracking and deepening of the voice are synonymous with male puberty.
You may have been a wonderful singer for your entire life, but puberty can change everything.
When you go through puberty, your larynx grows, and your vocal folds get longer and thicker.
The tone of your voice depends on both the larynx and the vocal folds.
Vibrations in our vocal folds are what create the sound we hear when people sing.
For higher pitches, our vocal folds lengthen and vibrate faster.
For lower pitches, the vocal folds relax and vibrate at a slower rate.
Any changes to the size and strength of your vocal folds will change your ability to produce sound.
In some cases, you might just have to wait.
While there are certainly plenty of singers who are great both before and after puberty, your voice will change as you go through this stage of development in life.
Your body needs to adjust itself to changes, which is very difficult during puberty.
The main reason for this is that the changes are happening so rapidly.
In addition, your body isn’t all changing in one uniform fashion.
Certain parts of your body develop faster than others.
In the case of your voice during puberty, certain parts may be temporarily incompatible with other parts.
This might be a consequence of one part being, in essence, pre-pubescent, while the other part is already closer to its adult form.
Remember, puberty is a normal part of growing up.
You should soon have your permanent adult voice and be able to practice and develop your singing once again.
4. You’ve Gained (Or Lost) Weight
You might think that gaining or losing weight has nothing to do with your voice.
This is a completely understandable conclusion, though it’s far from the truth.
Any drastic changes in your body can and probably will affect nearly every function of your body.
Yes, that would absolutely include your voice and ability to sing.
Fluctuations in your weight will influence hormone levels in your body.
As we all know, hormones can affect the sound of our voices.
It’s the reason we often associate masculinity and high testosterone with deep, gruff voices.
No one ever accused Vin Diesel of having low testosterone, did they?
With regard to singing, an increase in estrogen levels can result in a higher, lighter voice.
On the other hand, more testosterone can deepen a singer’s voice.
Another way weight gain can affect your voice is by changing your ability to breathe.
Just like with practice, you can’t expect to be able to sing when you’re out of shape.
Being overweight or obese can make it difficult to breathe.
Though heavy-set singers (particularly tenors) are often something we associate with great opera, there are plenty of wonderful tenors who do not carry as much weight.
The extra weight can make singing more stressful on the body and limit a singer’s endurance.
In general, our bodies prefer to maintain a stable, healthy weight.
Extreme fluctuations in either direction can be detrimental to our overall well-being, and to our singing voices.
If you’ve gained or lost weight, that may be the root cause of losing your ability to sing.
5. You’re Overthinking It
There’s a lot to be said about practice, training, body composition, and natural ability or talent.
Though these are all crucial elements of being a great singer, there’s one more element to singing well.
Often overlooked but critical to your singing success is confidence.
You could be the most gifted singer on the planet, but without confidence, what’s it worth?
There are certain mental elements of singing that can’t be quantified.
Nevertheless, they are still an important part of the process.
Some might argue that they’re the most important part of the process.
Being confident in your ability to sing will go a very long way, especially if you’re coming off a period of not being able to sing well.
If you overthink singing, you’ll probably be making unnecessary adjustments.
Those adjustments might be the very thing resulting in your voice not sounding the way you want it to.
Trust yourself and your abilities and stay true to your work and confident in your ability.
While you may occasionally have to make adjustments, don’t overthink it too much.
Singing is supposed to be enjoyable.
No matter what happens, singing should bring you happiness.
Keep it simple and avoid overthinking this beautiful art.
6. You Haven’t Had The Proper Training
Singing might seem simple, but it’s not easy.
To get to the next level, you’ll have to work hard and train.
Some of the greatest singers in the world spend years in training.
In fact, there are a great many music schools specifically dedicated to singing.
Other schools have vocal arts programs, where students study singing for hours every day.
Even the top singers have coaches.
The education doesn’t stop when you become a professional.
Professionals of all sorts continue their training throughout their careers, and singers are no exception.
7. You’re Sick Or Have Allergies
If you’ve ever had laryngitis, you’ll know how dramatically being sick can affect your voice.
With illnesses such as laryngitis, not only can you not sing, but you can hardly speak.
Laryngitis is perhaps the most extreme example of sickness wreaking havoc on our voices.
That’s because laryngitis causes swelling in your larynx, your voice box.
This is one of the most direct assaults on our voices.
If you have laryngitis, don’t try to sing through it.
You need to give your body time to rest and time for the inflammation to subside.
Laryngitis is often the result of an infection, but it can also be a symptom of another illness.
Even the common cold can make us sound nasty and nasally.
Respiratory illnesses can also stand in the way of you singing well.
We’ve all experienced the unpleasant hoarse sound that comes from our throats when we’re sick.
The very thought of singing when you have a respiratory illness is enough to make a person cringe.
Like most common illnesses, a respiratory bug will generally go away on its own.
However, if you find yourself sick for more than a week or two, you may want to consider paying a visit to your doctor.
Finally, if you’re not sick but have some of these same symptoms, you may have allergies.
Similar to being sick, allergies can cause reactions and inflammation.
You may be experiencing swelling due to your body’s allergic response to pollen or other allergens.
Allergies can also cause postnasal drip, resulting in irritation and coughing.
Fortunately, allergies are often easily treated with an over-the-counter antihistamine.
8. You’re Eating The Wrong Foods
It should go without saying that the foods we fuel our body with affect performance.
From cars and plants to animals and people, we all need the right fuel.
Fill a car that takes premium with regular gasoline and its performance will suffer.
The same principle certainly applies to humans.
That’s why professional athletes often pay very close attention to what they eat.
Optimal performance and output depend on quality input.
Though singing may not strike us as something that depends on foods as much as running, the truth is that it can.
Certain foods are known to be enemies of singers and should be avoided at all costs before performing.
As a general rule, foods that can cause acid reflux or heartburn are a no-go for singers.
A few examples include alcohol, foods that are spicy, juice, coffee, soda, and other caffeinated drinks, and foods that are greasy or high in fat.
As a singer, the foods you eat can cause swelling or acid reflux.
Besides the discomfort these conditions might cause, they can cause inflammation.
A poor diet can cause swelling in your voice box, much like with sicknesses.
Your diet can also cause irritation from stomach acid.
Lastly, you probably know that excess phlegm can interfere with the sound of your voice, which is also a side effect of eating certain foods.
9. You’re Getting Older
We’re all used to certain changes accompanying the gradual process of aging.
We slow down, our skin gets wrinkled, we get shorter, and we lose muscle mass.
While we’ve come to accept these changes as natural, we rarely think about our voices changing.
Sure, we’re accustomed to voice changes during puberty, but seldom think of it later in life.
However, just like any other muscle, the vocal cords can suffer from atrophy.
As we age, we can’t run as fast as when we were young.
No one expects to see a 90-year-old sprinting down the track in front of Usain Bolt.
For many of the same reasons, as older people, we aren’t able to sing with the same power as a younger individual.
Since singing depends on muscles and tissues in the vocal cords, any changes will result in a different voice.
Vocal cords can get shorter and weaker, which will directly affect your ability to sing.
As with other body parts, we also lose flexibility in our vocal cords when we age.
Usually, with the loss of tightness in our vocal cords, our voices will deepen.
The vibrations will move more slowly, producing a deeper singing voice.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to reverse the process of aging.
Aging is a normal part of life, and so are the natural changes in our voice that come along with it.
10. You Were (Or Are) A Smoker
This one should come as no surprise, considering all the alarming anti-smoking ads featuring raspy or voiceless smokers.
When smoke invades the body, it can cause irritation to all parts of your mouth and throat.
This, of course, includes your voice box.
In more severe cases, smoking can cause much more than irritation.
You may have also seen or heard of smokers who have had their voice boxes removed.
Like any other body part, the larynx can develop cancer.
Sometimes, the voice box needs to be removed, and patients will have a small hole in the throat to allow them to breathe.
Needless to say, singing is out of the question for situations that are this advanced.
Smoking is very bad for overall health and should be avoided at all costs.
On a very basic level, the chemicals in tobacco can cause irritation in your vocal cords.
In addition, smoking can damage the mucosal lining in your throat.
If regular smoking persists over a longer period of time, the outlook grows even bleaker.
Besides cancers of the lungs, throat, mouth, and more, smokers can develop vocal cord polyps.
Polyps are collections of cells that may not be harmful but can develop into cancer.
However, for singing purposes, even benign vocal cord polyps can negatively impact your singing voice.