Maintaining Your Voice in Old Age

03 January, 2020
Hormones play an important role in the change of voice that occurs in old age. Learn more about this process and how to take care of your voice as you age in this article.

You may have noticed that your voice doesn’t sound like it used to now that you’ve reached old age. Presbyphony is the name of this change. It refers to the natural changes that occur in the larynx as a part of the aging process. The larynx and vocal cords may vibrate more or less depending on the constitution of each person, but also their age. Over time, they lose elasticity and collagen fibers.

Your vocal footprint

Every person has their own voice, which identifies them and makes them unique. For this reason, we must take care of it. What is known as the vocal footprint is determined by the shape of the superior laryngeal tract, which is different in each person. For this reason, the resonance of the voice is also different, even in old age.

Hormones are involved in the process of voice change: testosterone in men and estrogen in women. In old age, testosterone decreases in men and the voice sharpens again. While in women, it becomes slightly deeper due to estrogen.

5 changes you may notice in your voice in old age

As you get older, your voice may take on a very different character. Although many adults retain their youthful voice in old age, some common changes may be noticeable:

  1. It sounds thinner. The sound of the voice is less resonant. The vocal cords inside the larynx become thinner and less flexible. This is because they suffer muscle loss over time and do not vibrate like before.
  2. Your voice sounds rougher. Your voice requires effective vibration for its sound to be clear. Therefore, anything that interferes with the closure of the strings and is harmful to the larynx will result in a rough and hoarse voice.
  3. It sounds less strong. Aging also affects the projection and volume of the voice. Also, people with altered respiratory systems may notice that their voice is lower.
  4. There’s a change in tone. Changes in tone may also be due to atrophy of the muscles in the vocal cords and, in women, might be due in part to hormonal changes.
  5. There’s more vocal fatigue. If your voice starts strong but fades throughout the day, vocal fatigue may be the culprit. Like any fatigue, voice fatigue is related to use.

You may also be interested: Why Do You Keep Losing Your Voice?

10 tips to take care of your voice in old age

Prevention is the best remedy to avoid problems with the voice and to take care of it. Here are some tips to take care of your voice and prevent pathologies that can affect the organs of the voice:

  1. Don’t force your voice and don’t scream.
  2. Avoid very noisy places and don’t try to talk over noise when you are around them.
  3. Don’t smoke or remain in smoky environments which irritate the larynx.
  4. Try not to clear your throat.
  5. If you have a cold, allergy or cough frequently, consult a specialist to receive the appropriate treatment.
  6. If you suffer from hoarseness or aphonia and it lasts more than 10 days, go to the specialist.
  7. Hydrate properly. You should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. This way, the mucous membrane that covers the vocal cords will be properly hydrated.
  8. Get adequate rest. Body fatigue is reflected in the voice, especially if you need the voice for work.
  9. Whenever possible, try not to speak more than four hours in a row or sing more than two, as it damages the vocal cords.
  10. Limit the consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as they dehydrate the vocal folds. Also, try to maintain a balanced diet avoiding spicy foods and dairy products which can affect the voice.

Discover: Voice Loss: Get your Voice Back with These Natural Remedies

Conclusion

Changes to the voice in old age aren’t yet studied well enough to create a complete prevention strategy. However, the practice of good hygiene and following the advice we have given you will help you keep your voice in top shape as you get older.

  • Cobeta, I., Núñez, F., Fernández, S., Núñez, F., Cobeta, I., & Fernández, S. (2013). Patología de la voz. Marge Medica Books.

  • Martínez-Sánchez, F. (2010). Trastornos del habla y la voz en la enfermedad de Parkinson. Revista de Neurologia.

  • Sataloff, R. (1993). La voz humana. Investigación y Ciencia.