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Keeping Age at Bay: Young and Vibrant Voices

Last post described the characteristics of aging voices:  tremulous, changing pitch, reduced vocal endurance and projection, reduced volume.  Not everyone who is aging experiences those voice effects and today’s post looks at ways to avoid them.  

This issue arose because of a phone conversation The Audiologist had with her 80ish-patient recently, in which she initially mistook him for a young man in his 20’s, based on his voice.  

 

Why Do Some Voices Stay Young?

 

Just as Seniors are getting into exercise to stay active and vital, some are also exercising their voices to keep them strong and vibrant.  And, just as some people look younger than their age, some people sound younger than their age.

According to  AARP’s Health Living section, “5 Ways Not to Sound Old“: 

  • Vocal exercises improve loudness by strengthening muscle tone and endurance.
  • Raspy voices benefit from daily vocal, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
In the young-sounding patient’s case, he exercises his voice regularly by singing — church solos, Men’s Chorale, in the shower, on his balcony — he sings all the time.  Interestingly, he notes that he’s having to sing in a lower key now because his range has shifted downward.  It’s a problem for his accompanist but he’s OK with it.
 
Not everyone has a great voice or an inclination to sing in front of strangers.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t use musical exercises to enjoy a young voice — and keep people with hearing loss hanging on your every word.  A good voice helps make you popular, whether you sing in public or not!
 

The Sound of Music

 
We looked into ways to use music to strengthen voices and here’s what we found:
  1. Flexibility and Agility:  Gliding Exercises
  2. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Repeating Patterns
  3. Maintain/Extend Range: Arpeggios and Scales

 

Have Fun

 

So… that’s it.  Sing in the shower, sing with the radio… have fun.  

Your hearing-impaired friends, especially those who are fitted with appropriate amplification with a Music program, will appreciate hearing your voice, whether you sing for them or not, and have fun with you too!

 

feature image from florence foster jenkins

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Melanie Tapson

Great article! Singing is absolutely one of the best ways to keep your voice in great condition. There is good research that talks about the positive impact of choral singing on the aging voice. You may not know that the audiologist’s friend the speech language pathologist can also help you, too! A voice therapist (a speech pathologist who specializes in voice) can help keep that aging voice at bay by designing exercises that are individualized to YOUR voice, too! A nice benefit: they’r. covered by your supplemental insurance company, where a voice teacher isn’t! It’s interesting to hear the gentleman in the article found his voice is getting lower as he ages; physiologically, men’s voices actually raise in pitch as they get older. This suggests that with a little coaching in breath support from a voice therapist (speech pathologist), we could optimize his singing even further! But it sounds like… Read more »