Your voice can, like many other systems in the body, tire after overuse. As you get older, vocal endurance may not be as robust as it was earlier in life. You could regularly suffer voice loss by the time you reach 60.
It’s not, however, inevitable, and you can take steps to minimize the deterioration of your voice. Knowing what to watch for is the first step. Certain signs and symptoms can warn you of problems in the early stages. Secondly, you can maintain the health of the systems that support your voice. Tending to your overall health is usually good for your voice too.
When you do encounter vocal issues, visit Dr. Scott N. Bateman at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat for an examination and diagnosis. We’ve compiled some points to consider. Here’s what to do about voice loss after 60.
Reasons why your voice changes with age
As you get older, some changes are unavoidable. Your skin loses volume and elasticity and forms wrinkles. Age-related voice loss, medically called presbyphonia, is common but not inevitable. Changes in your voice typically result from two primary reasons.
1. Aging voice components
The larynx, commonly called the voice box, can lose flexibility as you age. The joints of the larynx become stiffer, and cartilage deteriorates. You can lose muscle tone in the vocal cords, and they become weaker and less flexible. They can even atrophy like other muscles in your body. Your chest, diaphragm, and lungs are also essential voice components, so aging of these can also impact the way your voice sounds.
2. Overall health decline
Vocal cords can develop growths like nodules and polyps, affecting the way they vibrate. Chronic fatigue can cause vocal tremors, as do some neurological problems. Respiratory disorders that affect the supply or flow of air can cause presbyphonia.
What to do about voice loss after 60
Being aware that your voice can change with age is the first step. Changes are often slow to develop, and you may not be aware of them. Remain alert for small signs, like running out of breath as you speak, squeaks, breathiness, or hoarseness. These may be occasional and temporary, but they could also be early warning signs.
Use it or lose it
Empty nesters, retired people, and those living alone may simply not be using their voice as much as they once did. It’s easy, in this work-from-home age, to go through an entire day with typical conversations replaced with emails and texts. You may need to seek social settings, join a choir, or make some other conscious effort to exercise your voice.
Your vocal cords hydrate from within, so keep up those six to eight glasses of water per day. Boost water intake when you have caffeinated beverages or alcohol. Enjoy hydrating snacks like grapes, cucumbers, and watermelon. Use a humidifier at home if the air is dry.
Nicotine affects blood flow throughout your body, and smoking is a leading cause of emphysema and other breathing disorders. Smoking attacks your voice from every angle.
Schedule a visit with Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat for early diagnosis and treatment. You can make an appointment by phone or online. Preserve your line of communication with the world by booking promptly at the first signs of change.