Adele’s vocal cord trouble not rare
which needs more urgent attention, rather than more long term care.”
“There are very few situations where I would say to a singer, ‘You must not use your voice’, but a vocal cord hemorrhage is one of them. It’s a distinct possibility,” Costello said.
“Most laryngologists would say that a singer in that situation needs to completely rest their voice for couple of weeks. Total silence, no whispering, no humming; you have to write everything down. Because when you’ve got a hemorrhage, you want it to heal without any scarring, and if you immediately start to use your voice it might scar, and then the cord will never vibrate again properly if it’s not treated adequately.”
Bouts of silence is the standard treatment for others in Adele’s situation. Sam Smith was subject to silence for three weeks after Zeitels operated on his vocal cords, while Celine Dion eschewed surgery in exchange for two mute weeks to combat extreme swelling. John Mayer found success once his vocal cords were paralysed with Botox, allowing them to rest after three years of recurring tissue inflammation.
‘No singer wants to have an operation on her larynx, let alone two or three’
Adele’s emotional statement suggested that the singer intends to complete the mammoth tour that started in February 2016. “I have changed my life drastically in every way to make sure I got through this tour that started at the beginning of last year,” she wrote. “To not be able to finish it, is something I’m really struggling to come to terms with.”
More information, fans were told, would be coming over the next few days, with the promise that there would be refunds if the shows couldn’t be rescheduled.
But what of her voice? Surgery is often a last resort for laryngologists: Dion’s doctor, Gwen Korovin, who has also worked with Ariana Grande and Hugh Jackman, is known for trying every option before opting for the knife.
“Clearly no singer wants to have another operation on her larynx, let alone two or three,” Costello says. “As a surgeon, it’s a constant balancing act between wanting to remove the damaged areas, and at the same time not overdo it or remove too much so as to cause scarring through surgery.”
But Adele’s surgeon, Zeitels, is “world-renowned”, Costello says, and “a safe pair of hands” should she need to go under the knife to have other broken blood vessels removed by laser treatment.
And, while Adele does appear to suffer more than other stars, there is “every reason to be optimistic” that she will return in good voice. “There are very few pathologies of the vocal cords that mean you’ ll never sing again,” says Costello. Here’s hoping that Adele will return for one last goodbye.