Why does the voice age


The map of our skin is the mirror of time. And no way - not even a surgical one - leads to the fact that we age from the day we are born ...

How does getting older affect the voice?

With our age, all those “components” that are responsible for our voice get old: muscles and tissues change in their resilience and elasticity; the larynx becomes ossified and thus changes its structure. This can lead to a reduction in dynamic abilities (e.g. a very soft or very loud voice) and a changed sound. The “fluency” of the voice can decrease, rapid tone sequences become more challenging. The possibilities of the lungs are also mostly reduced. Due to a reduced breathing function, sung notes can no longer be held (sustained) for so long. Age-related hearing loss, in turn, affects the fine-tuning of the voice via the ear.

But: Everyone ages differently.

In contrast to the calendar age, which relates to the lifespan, the biological age is effective. Heredity, life situation, vocal hygiene and general health all come together here. You probably know: people in their prime, whose voices already sound old or worn out. Conversely, there are significantly older people with a full, resonant and expressive voice who still practice a vocal profession.

As unbiological Behavior can accelerate our general aging process, so can one unphysiological use of the voice negatively affect their longevity and vitality. It is therefore up to everyone to a large extent to influence the health of the voice and vocal abilities both positively and negatively: with sufficient humidity, adequate supply of fluids (water, diluted fruit juices, teas), a varied diet, exercise and above all with a physiological use of the voice.

How do you support your voice?

  • Keep your voice light and agile. Play with your voice! During the shower, in between, just like that. With your heart's content! How about a joyful warble to a “dommdala” or a “trallalla”?
  • Even when you are sitting down, wonderful little language gimmicks can be incorporated in between: Children's poems, verses, texts that spontaneously come to mind are fun. Vary these texts in pitch, volume, expression and content.
  • We recommend trying out circular movements of the pelvis while sitting down while doing speech and language games. Just as if your seat humps were making circles. Large movements down to very small ones; slowly and extensively. This pelvic circling promotes your body-supported speaking.

What does that tell us? No need to bury your head in the sand. Initiative is needed! Or in the words of Luisa Tetrazzini, the great coloratura singer of the last century: "If the singer's health is good, the use and quality of the voice should not cease until death, provided it has been used with an artistic understanding."


Barbara Widhalm headed the speech therapy course at the FH Campus Wien. She offers training together with Catarina Lybeck. More at www.sprechlust.at. From 1996 to 2001 she worked as a speech therapist in the house of geriatrics at the Klagenfurt Clinic and since then has also dealt with questions of gerontology.


Photo: István Mihály on Pixabay