Are They Too Young to Sing?

Reigning "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks could be the hardest working woman in show business.

From singing at the Super Bowl to cutting her new album, the 18-year-old has been going nonstop and is now suffering from a hemorrhaged vocal chord.

When vocal chords are healthy they both move freely and comfortably as one sings or speaks. In Sparks' case half her vocal chords are damaged, so when she sings, only half do the job.

"When a young performer has a bleeding into their vocal chord, it's very similar to a professional athlete, let's say, breaking their ankle. It's very frightening because to them it could mean the loss of their career," said Gerald Berke, chief surgeon for the UCLA Voice Center.


Fortunately Berke says Sparks will likely recover.

"They try and force themselves when they have laryngitis and unfortunately this is what results," he said.

Sparks' Not Alone

David Archuleta, one of this year's "American Idol" front-runners, belted "Think of Me" during Tuesday night's show, but his vocal coach Dean Kaelin told "Good Morning America" that a few years ago he paralyzed a vocal chord after nonstop singing and an infection.

"I said, 'Turn your head and sing' and he went like [this and] said 'Ahh.' I said, 'Turn it the other way' and he said, 'Aaaaa.' There was nothing there. So basically, one vocal chord was doing all the work," he said.

Young stars Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and LeAnn Rimes have had to cancel shows in the past. Even legends like Julie Andrews and Frank Sinatra have suffered vocal fatigue or damage.

Country sensation Billy Gilman lost two years of his career to recover from overuse damage when he was just 14.

"That was my main fear, that I'd never sing again. From 5 years old, whatever note I wanted hit, it was there and now it's not," said Gilman.

Gilman has since been taught how to protect his voice through proper singing techniques -- a lesson likely to now be music to Sparks' ears.