The Vigorous Voice
Here are two questions for those with older voices:
1) Have you noticed any of these vocal changes?
Reduced volume or projection
Reduced clarity and stamina
Women, your voice is getting lower
Men, your voice is getting higher
2) If so, do you want to do anything about them?
A 2011 article in Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery showed these vocal changes affect “[U]p to 30 percent of the population and [can] negatively impact quality of life, limit social interaction, and lead to anxiety and depression…”
We “oldish” are younger and more vigorous than ever before. Great news…but someone forgot to tell our voices! Women who sang soprano all their lives may be headed for alto (or tenor). Men may be mistaken for women when they answer the phone. Both may experience an unsettling loss of vocal identity and control.
Our voices shouldn’t sound older than we feel. If we’re retired, we want to speak, socialize, sing, entertain, and read stories to toddlers, among other pleasures. If we’re still working, we need a strong, clear, professional vocal presence we can rely upon.
Age-related vocal changes are natural. The physical changes of aging we counter by exercise and diet also affect the vocal apparatus (abdominal, intercostal, and lung tissues; the larynx, nasopharynx, and vocal folds; and the tongue, lips, and teeth).
Put simply, we are thinning out, drying out, losing muscle, gaining fat, and getting brittle. On top of all that, Covid has put isolation on steroids, which means we are talking (and singing!) less. Unfortunately, as with all muscles and connective tissue, your vocal apparatus is “use it or lose it.”
The good news is that simple, repeatable vocal exercises can help. What we do is create customized physical training for your voice. In as few as four to six weekly sessions, you will notice improvements in pitch, volume and clarity, breath control, and stamina. You will have a daily, 15-minute routine you can do at home. And, as the work continues, you will be on the path to rediscovering a voice you haven’t heard in awhile: yours.