Does Your Voice Match Your Age?

13-52Everyone is aware of the physical changes that accompany growing older. You can’t go ten minutes without encountering an advertisement for wrinkle cream, or hair dye, or another product designed to keep you looking as young as possible for as long as possible. Increasingly, people are taking an interest in sounding young as well. Many aging adults are seeking professional help in retaining the strong, commanding, dynamic voice of their youth.

As we age, all of the muscles of the body begin to atrophy or grow weaker. This includes the muscles of the vocal folds, which can result in presbylaryngis, or changes in vocal quality due to aging. Presbylaryngis is common in adults over sixty. Some of the common issues associated with presbylaryngis are:

  • Decreased Volume: Projecting your voice is more difficult when the vocal folds are weaker, resulting in a weaker, thinner voice.
  • Pitch Changes: As we age, men’s voices tend to become higher in pitch, while women’s voices become lower.
  • Overall Vocal Quality: On the whole, the voice becomes less vibrant and dynamic. Vocal quality associated with presbylaryngis is often described as breathy, thin, or reedy. In addition, vocal tremors may become an issue.

Although presbylaryngis is a normal part of aging, many people want to retain the vocal quality of their youth for as long as possible. This is particularly true of people who use their voice in their professional life; professors, actors,  and public speakers all have a vested interest in maintaining a strong, dynamic voice. Luckily, studies have shown that voice therapy from a speech-language pathologist can effectively improve the effects of presbylaryngis. A speech-language pathologist can help improve breathing techniques to better support the voice and increase volume. They can also provide vocal exercises to strengthen muscles, reduce tension, and increase the closure of the vocal cords, all of which can improve overall vocal quality.

Want to learn more? If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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