Learning about the vocal folds in class got me thinking about the common malady suffered by singers called vocal nodules, more commonly known as nodes. While the video we watched displayed a pair of healthy vocal chords, nodes are a thickening or callous that forms on the vocal folds characterized by visible lumps on the chords, loss of voice, and typically, pain when singing.
Nodes are caused by speaking or singing incorrectly (i.e. too much, too loudly, or without the proper breath to support) causing swelling of the very delicate vocal folds. If you rest, giving the folds time to heal, there should be no permanent damage. However if the same behaviors are continued, blisters form and then harden, causing nodes.
This type of vocal trauma is often mistaken for "just being tired" but in reality hoarseness and pain are not common or normal. Luckily, with early diagnosis, vocal rest and proper training, and medical intervention, nodes can be treated and hopefully a full recovery made.
"They sit on your vocal chords and crush your dreams." - Kloi, on Nodes, Pitch Perfect Movie