Infuriating problem with playback

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Infuriating problem with playback

Gary
Hi

I'm editing a podcast. I have quite a bit of experience with audacity and I feel I can address most problems myself. However, this latest problem has my stymied.

I am pulling up some project files I've previously edited. They appear fine, there are sound waves all the way across, but when I play the files back they mute for long stretches. The sections that are muted appear like there is sound there (and I know there is, I was just editing these files yesterday) but I can't hear them. Moreover, when I export one of these files as a wav. those areas flatline as if they were manually muted.

I'd really rather not lose all this content if I can help it. What is happening? How do I fix this?

Thank you in advance
Gary