March 04, 2012

Celine Dion Cancels Shows Due to Laryngitis

In late Feb 2012, Celine Dion who was to have performed in Las Vegas Feb 22, 2012, cancelled her show at the last minute at the Caesar's Palace due to laryngitis on the advice of her doctors. According to media reports, her doctors instructed her to rest for 7 days to ensure full recovery due to vocal cord inflammation caused by a virus.

What does that mean exactly?

When a virus infects the mucosa of the upper airway, it causes inflammation of the mucosa lining including the vocal cords. With inflammation, the vocal cords swell.

That's why with laryngitis, the pitch of the voice decreases and it becomes more effortful to talk. To use an analogy, think of a violin string where the thicker string has a deeper pitch than a thin string. It also takes more power to play the thicker string. Watch the video below of normal vocal cord functioning:

In order for voice production to occur, the lining of the vocal cords vibrates very quickly when they come together. If the vocal cords are swollen, they don't vibrate as easily.

Here's what inflamed vocal cords might have looked like for Celine Dion. Note the slight bend to the vocal cords and overall dull appearance.

Below is what her vocal cords might look like when they are at peak health!

Voice rest is absolutely important for vocal recovery as quickly as possible. With talking/singing during active laryngitis, further trauma may occur to the vocal cord lining promoting even more inflammation and swelling. It may also lead to another vocal disorder known as muscle tension dysphonia.

Celine Dion cancels act: laryngitis. UPI 2/26/12
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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