As we age, our bodies’ physiology also changes – our muscles become weaker, our joints become stiffer, and our skin starts to sag, among others. But we often overlook our changing voice including the differences in its tone and pitch, as well as our ability to speak in ways that others can understand well.
We shouldn’t dismiss these voice-related issues because these can affect our quality of life. If it applies to you, you should raise your voice, so to speak, and raise your concerns with your otolaryngologist. If you don’t have one, you will find plenty of ENT doctors who will listen to your concerns and work closely in finding the best possible solutions for them.
Know the Causes
For many elderly people, their voice-related issues are mainly due to their aging larynx, known as presbyphonia, and to glottic insufficiency (i.e., the vocal cords aren’t closing solidly). This causes several voice changes in terms of pitch and tone, as well as in shorter duration in phonation and in poor vocal projection. These changes can make it challenging to express yourself even to family and friends, even affect your sense of confidence.
But it isn’t just the voice-related parts that contribute to your aging voice. It may also be caused by an underlying medical condition that affects pulmonary capacity (i.e., breathing) and neurological function. It may also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that, once appropriately treated, can reduce the impact of the voice alterations.
The underlying medical conditions include tumors, allergies, changes in hormones, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Your doctor will consider the possibility that, indeed, there are multiple factors affecting the quality of your voice. You may, for example, observe changes in your voice as the first symptom in a diagnosis of ALS or Parkinson’s disease, a common occurrence.
Know the Treatments
Fortunately, your otolaryngologist can recommend several treatments that can improve the quality of your voice. You have to choose from among these treatments depending on your own needs for them. You may have to combine two or more treatments for the best results.
You will also likely be taught about effective coping mechanisms in dealing with your changing voice. No matter your treatment plan, you should strive for compliance if and when you want to benefit from it.
For more details of our ENT services, please contact HK ENT Specialist.
HK ENT Specialist
offering ENT services,
Hearing aids prescription,
Swallowing disorder assessment and treatment,
Head and Neck Oncology,
Sleep disordered breathing Management,
and Facial Plastic Surgery, etc.