Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. When it comes to anti-aging, most people think about how to look younger and how to feel younger, but don’t usually think about how to “sound” younger.
As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their ‘voice muscles’ like they do their biceps. On this KRON 4 health segment, Weekend News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and I talk about how to keep your voice sounding “young”.
Causes of Sounding Old
Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following conditions may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak causing you to sound “old”:
- Vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
- Vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
- Vocal cords are dry due to a decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands.
- Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
- Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.
- Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.