stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

Just humming doesn’t quite cut it…

Posted on: August 31, 2009

I know it must sound quite silly, but it’s really been getting to me of late the fact that I can’t sing anymore.

I adore music and find myself compulsively trying to join in with songs, but I just can’t do it anymore.

I’ve almost stopped trying to open my mouth to sing now when I hear a catchy tune, as subconsciously it’s finally starting to sink in – but to be honest, the alternative just seems a bit lame.

As the words just can’t get out quick enough, I’ve taken to humming along to things (or whistling, but I’m not great at that!). It’s alright, it’s just often indecipherable as to what tune it is if anyone is listening and just seems like an additional layer of noise. Hardly tuneful!

Ridiculously, the most annoying thing about humming is that after a while it really tickles your lips! No joke.

Stood doing the washing up and humming away to a bit of  Florence and the Machine (not easy I assure you – I should really pick some tunes that are easier to hum!) and I end up with goosebumps allover from accidentally tickling my lips with all the reverberations from my mouth! Rubbish.

Can’t sing, can’t hum – I’m never going to be destined to win X Factor, am I?!

I shouldn’t whinge, but it really is very annoying. I’m pretty much past being upset about it now, just sadly resigned to my stammer preventing me from singing anymore.

If I try, it’s just unintelligible as I can’t stretch the rhythm to fit in all the stuttering repetitions. I try to slow it right down, but that doesn’t work either. To be honest I’m not really sure what else I can do to be able to warble along to the radio.

On the plus side, at least I won’t be so readily convinced to do karaoke when blind drunk anymore, or embarass myself singing along to Guitar Hero with a stutter – well, unless by some feat they release a version for stutterers! Highly unlikely.

Until then Simon Cowell’s just going to have to wait. I’m not holding my breath!

3 Responses to "Just humming doesn’t quite cut it…"

This is interesting to me. I am a stutterer and used to use singing as a way to speak fluently. In high school I joined choir because having music backing up my vocals/words made is easier to get them out, I suppose it almost loosened me up. However, I do find singing Acapella is almost as difficult fluency-wise as talking.

I’m sure every stutterer is different. But don’t let stuttering keep you from singing! We all love to sing, it feels good. So do it anyway.

I just started blogging about stuttering a couple of days ago. I would love if you would read what I have so far and offer advice or insight on how to continue openly discusses my stuttering.


I was reading your story and reading a few blog posts. I was just wondering if you really had a stutter or something a little worse. Its just sounds like you have something a little more than a stutter.

Can you speak fluently by yourself? Does drinking help/hinder your speech? I know that everyone is different but I haven’t yet come across someone with a stutter who cannot sing along to a tune. Have you got your intonation back?

It sounds more like you have some brain damage or some form of mini-stroke (I am no doctor), like you have lost the ability or forgotten how to speak properly. Your story doesn’t seem to end but it sounds like you still have headaches.. thats not right. I would recommend a second opinion from another doctor. Maybe go private for a check up?

Anyway, whatever you have it doesn’t sound too pleasant. As an expert stutterer myself, all I can say is hang in there, it does get better. You soon find that you have fluent spells and with some practice you can make the come around a little more frequently.

Just try your best to stay relaxed and not to get too frustrated with yourself, this will only increase your stutter 🙂

Hi Jason,

in response to your questions, here goes:

I’m not able to speak fluently to myself – I try sometimes to see if it makes a difference, but no such luck.

Alcohol has no effect but to make me drunk and hungover 😦 – see this post for more

I’m not able to sing along to tunes or by myself, the repetitions remain disappointingly.

I got my intonation back after a month or so, prior to that I sounded like a robot. Amusing for others, but infuriating and distressing for me. Glad I sound like myself again, in spite of the stammer.

There has been brain damage from the accident I had as the scans have shown, but fortunately I’ve got an appointment with the neurologist this week so hopefully something positive will come of that 🙂

I’m hoping it’ll get better or easier to communicate, but to date the speech therapists haven’t been too hopeful – they’ve actually discharged me due to having run out of ideas for the time being!

Fingers crossed they have a brain wave (no pun intended soon!)


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