Shania Twain says voice was ‘never the same again’ due to Lyme disease

shaniatwain via Instagram

In 2003, singer Shania Twain was horseback riding. Later, she discovered that she had been bitten by a tick, and she contracted Lyme disease.

Twain was on tour at the time. She wasn’t sure what was going on at first, but she knew something was wrong. In her new Netflix documentary “Not Just a Girl,” Twain described blacking out on stage. She said, “My symptoms were quite scary because before I was diagnosed, I was on stage very dizzy. I was losing my balance. I was afraid I was going to fall off the stage.” She added, “I was having these very, very, very millisecond blackouts, but regularly, every minute or every 30 seconds.”

Eventually, Twain was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and she was treated for the disease; however, there was one lingering side effect that she didn’t even realize was connected to the diagnosis until years later.

Twain was having trouble with her voice. Twain explained, “There were seven years where I could not, for example, yell out for my dog. My voice would just cut out in certain places.”

Twain said that it took “several years” before anyone could figure out that her vocal issues were caused by Lyme disease. She explained, “It wasn’t anything obvious. Nobody connected the Lyme disease to it. In the end, a neurologist finally connected that it was the nerve to each vocal cord.”

Even though having vocal issues has to be quite scary for a professional singer, Twain still considers herself “lucky.” She explained, “It was just a very unfortunate, ironic problem since I’m a singer, but I feel so grateful and so lucky that it didn’t attack somewhere else because it’s so debilitating.”

Twain has her voice back, but she says it’s “different” now. She has come to terms with her new voice. She said, “I have a different voice now but I own it. I love my voice now.”

According to the CDC, approximately 96% of Lyme disease cases are from tick bites in 14 states in the Northeast and Midwest including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Most tick bites occur in the Spring, Summer or Fall.

In order to prevent tick bites, the CDC recommends treating clothing with sprays containing 0.5% permethrin and using insect repellants like DEET. In addition, if you’re hiking, walk in the center of the trail, and when you’re outside, stay away from wooded areas, tall grass, leaf litter and brushy areas. 

When you come inside, check your body, your gear and your clothing for ticks. It can also be helpful to take a shower and throw your clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes to kill any ticks.

[Image credit: Deposit Photos]