Losing my voice during the pandemic


Since the pandemic began I’ve worked from home the vast majority of the time. I normally drive about 20,000 miles a year, but in the last two years I’ve put only about 3,000 miles on my car.

I’m a car singer. When I’m driving, I’ve got my music on and I sing along. I can carry a tune, and I can really project my voice.

Or at least I used to be able to project my voice. I didn’t realize how much my ability to do that depended on the daily practice I got while commuting.

I am working at my company’s headquarters today, for the first time since before Christmas. I asked Siri to play my “singalong” playlist. I quickly found that I could barely raise my voice above normal speech volume without it hurting my throat.

I’m not a terribly physical guy. I don’t play sports. I don’t enjoy working out, so you will be hard pressed to find me in the gym. The things a fellow normally does to wring out tough emotions, I don’t do.

Singing does that for me. It’s a very physical activity and when I’m feeling rough, belting out a bunch of songs I know well very often vents the emotional pressure.

Wow, has there ever been a lot of emotional pressure during this pandemic. And I haven’t had my primary way of physically working through my feelings.

I wonder if I should go for a thirty minute drive every day after work, just to have that time to sing.


16 responses to “Losing my voice during the pandemic”

  1. smousedan Avatar

    Singing is good for the soul! Going for a drive just to be able to sing sounds like a solid plan for caring for yourself.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I just need to make more time for it!

  2. Cailín Rúnda Avatar
    Cailín Rúnda

    It does sound as if you find singing to be a release for you. You could try it for a bit and see if has worthwhile benefits. If nothing else it’s time away from the house and that in it’s self may be useful. A lift in the weather will also be something for many to look forward to as well! …

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I do spend a lot of time in the house thanks to the pandemic. It is good to get out of here sometimes.

  3. DougD Avatar

    Yup, your voice is an instrument. If you don’t practice it goes away.
    You should drive and sing regularly.
    I’ve always been a terrible singer, and you can’t play a guitar while driving.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is nice to be able to sing anywhere.

  4. Doug Anderson Avatar

    I sing with a mixed professional and volunteer choir. We had a layoff of almost a year because of the lockdowns. When we started up again in September several of us had lost a lot of volume, which our choir director diagnosed as forgetting how to breath. He put together a breathing exercise program for us that had us back up to volume in time for Christmas. Oddly, I permanently lost two semitones at the top of my range but gained a semitone at the bottom. Who knew?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That breathing program sounds great. But I’m puzzled over how your range changed!

  5. Khürt Williams Avatar

    I’m not a terribly physical guy either, and I don’t play sports. I enjoy working out, but I’ve never liked the gym crowd. I would have one if I could afford a bow flex at home.

    When I have challenging emotions, I hike or listen to music on headphones. My family tells me I am tone deaf, so I do not sing aloud. Not even in the car. 🤪

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If I had space for something like a Bowflex I might, maybe, just use it.

  6. J P Avatar

    I agree with the others here, that perhaps you should. You might want to look into some warmup or other vocal exercises to promote a healthy strengthening of your voice. I’ll bet there are plenty of good ones online.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Warmup, schmarmup! I just start belting away!

      But that’s almost certainly not good for me.

  7. Greg Clawson Avatar
    Greg Clawson

    Jim, just throw all caution to the wind. Strap on a camera, go for a walk, and sing at the top of your lungs. What’s the worst that can happen ;-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Other than getting looked at strangely, nothing!

  8. P. Daffron Avatar
    P. Daffron

    Jim, you made my day!!! I laughed so hard reading your post with the visuals I was getting. :-) I always did the same as you when driving. Over the years, my driving decreased as well as my voice. But it’s had no effect on my laughter. Take care and tell Margaret to hurry up and finish the cook book… I’m aging rapidly. :-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I never really connected my voice to all the driving I did — until I didn’t drive so much anymore! I’ll let Margaret know she needs to kick her cookbook idea into high gear :-)

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