Voice Matters- Whatever Your Age
Whether I’m assisting a performer or a retired person back to vocal health , their voice matters to them- and to me.
Loss of voice function can be debilitating and socially and professionally limiting sometimes, it can cause huge financial loss.
The Professor and The Conference
One day I was contacted by a polite 86 yr old gentleman seeking assistance.
He was a Professor Emeritus, still allied to a University in London where he had taught for many years.
His strongly Greek accented message stated that he had been experiencing voice problems in recent years. There was some urgency in his tone as he was soon to host a conference he had organised. He wanted to be able to introduce his speakers and network fully amongst the delegates.
What happens to our voice when we age?
The main body of the vocal folds (cords) is the vocalis muscle. As large part of the vocal folds are made up of muscle fibres, they are prone to thinning and loosing bulk in our more mature years. Collagen and elastin in the vocal folds also reduces with ageing. This means that the vocal folds do not meet fully along their length or become bowed. In either of the latter two scenarios, the Voice will sound husky and thin.
Very often, singers and performers who use their voices consistently, with good vocal technique can sing and perform until well into their 60’s, 70’s and sometimes beyond. There may be range and repertoire adjustments but essentially, their abilities will far exceed that of individuals who use their voices to a much lesser degree.
Motivation matters at any age
The Professor’s motivation helped speed up his progress. The exercises I selected were not very different from my other vocal health and strength exercises . The benefit of individual therapy and an experienced clinician is the way the exercises can be adapted for each individual if necessary. He showed excellent progress by the second session
Exercising your voice keeps the vocal folds flexible and toned
The Professor’s progress demonstrates that seeking help for your voice at any age can be beneficial. Social functioning is vital to good health and voice can be a major component to leading a full life. Next time you go to the gym or carry out some body fitness activity, consider too the benefits of a little vocal workout….