June 14, 2024

Question for science – why does the voice change throughout life?

Voice is an essential factor in our communication. With it, the melody of speech, emotions and intentions are expressed voluntarily and involuntarily. In the course of life, the voice changes primarily due to the processes of anatomical and physiological development. The vocal cords in the larynx vibrate when we speak or sing and use other structures to make sound.

Melanie Trojan is a research assistant in the Bachelor’s Program in Speech Therapy at the University of Applied Sciences Wiener-Neustadt.


In infancy, the larynx is higher and the vocal cords are softer, more flexible and thinner. This results in an overall louder sound. During puberty, the larynx grows and the vocal cords lengthen and thicken. In both boys and girls, the voice deepens. This change – colloquially referred to as a broken sound – can be heard clearly in boys in particular.

In adulthood, the voice usually remains stable. Changes are usually associated with the general state of health and living environment (speaking profession, smoking, stress, etc.).

In old age, the voice can lose its elasticity and elasticity due to natural aging processes, as well as age-related diseases. It becomes more fragile and deeper.

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