Man Injured his Lung & Nearly Died After Singing High Notes in KTV

Image: xujun/ & Nanchang Wanbao


Singing is a liberating thing (as long as you don’t hear your own voice), and there’s not many opportunities for normal people to show off their vocals (or pretend that it’s suited for a stage).

So, going to KTVs are a fantastic place to do so since nobody will give two shits about your singing abilities.

For me, I’ll usually stick to singing where nobody can hear me.

Image: Giphy

But hey, if not KTVs, where else can you sing duets and in groups like for 情歌王, or even show off your high pitch?

Which is what a 65-year-old man in China did.

Sang 10+ high-pitched songs consecutively, experienced pains in chest

The 65-year-old from Nanchang county in Jiangxi province, identified as Huang (some sources say Wang), felt pains in his chest after singing 10 high-pitched songs in succession.

You can view the whole video here in Chinese, but here’s what he said.

Image: Nanchang Wanbao

He sang more than 10 songs in this session, including many high-pitched ones. After singing a while, he had difficulties breathing in his left lung region.


But he didn’t feel that this was any unusual, and continued with singing.

The pain worsened during the next two days at home and he decided to visit the hospital.

Image: PearVideo

Well, if I felt chest pains during singing, I would have stopped, but I guess some just need to sing their hearts out. Or in this case, sing their lungs out...

Doctors said lung collapsed because of high-pitched songs

Image: Nanchang Wanbao

Chinese medical jargon aside, the doctors basically said the pressure in the lungs caused by singing high notes made Huang suffer a lung collapse, with his left lung shrinking 30%.

But, this one old uncle, surely this is only a one-time event that’s not common… right?


Injury common among males

The doctor in the interview also advised that this injury is common among males, especially those middle-aged or older. A singing session of not more than two hours is enough.

On the other hand, the Chinese source I gave said “青壮年男性”, which I’m pretty sure stands for young adults. So is it young adults or just uncles more at risk?

Only one way to find out: investigate.

Case 2: Woman survives collapsed lung because singing made her lung stronger

So maybe the doctor isn’t lying for Huang’s case, but in Wargrave, Berkshire, a Mrs Payne-Annetts found her right lung collapsed.

From the article:

“My right lung had completely collapsed. The consultant who met me at the hospital said he was amazed I was able to walk into A&E – he expected me to be on the floor.

“A surgeon later said that, because I had been so active with my singing, my other lung had grown very large and had compensated for the lack of capacity.”

Yeah, instead of singing causing her lungs to puncture, it’s the other way round now.

So what’s going on?

Here’s the major difference: Mrs Payne is an actual musician and singer.

It’s not uncommon for choirs to practice more than 2 hours, which is definitely more than what Huang’s doctor’s said. In fact, singers have larger lung capacities than non-singers.


So could this be related to technique?

Case 3: Adele damaged cords

See, Adele actually damaged her vocal cords and needed to cancel tours before. Yeah, that Adele. And it’s not uncommon for singers like Adele to have their voice damaged.

It’s not really that singing caused their damage—it’s because of the changing definitions of what makes good singing that singers started using non-natural ways to sing, AKA ‘improper’ techniques, resulting in damage.

What the hell do lungs (in Huang’s case) got to do with vocal cords, other than they’re close to each other?

Well, the correct technique for singing is actually to use your diaphragm. A common beginners and non-professional mistake, which I assume those going KTV to do, is to use lungs (or throat or whatever) more than diaphragm.

You see where I’m going here? Utilising proper techniques is less likely to result in injury, just like any athletic activity.

But of course, for those going KTV and know nothing about proper technique, it’s better to just stay safe in that 2 hour KTV session zone.

Although, karaoke isn’t really just for singing, is it?

Image: Giphy

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