As with all parts of the body, the passage of time affects the voice although these changes do not typically become evident before you are in your 70s. It’s important to remember that ageing is a natural process. A diagnosis of presbyphonia is made when the anatomic and physiologic age-changes in the voice are problematic for you.
The changes in the larynx that occur with the ageing process include:
- Thinning of the epithelium (lining)of the larynx
- Altered function of the mucus glands which lubricate the larynx, leading to dryness
- Change in muscle bulk
- Altered flexibility of the laryngeal cartilages
- Altered pitch- a deeper voice in women and higher voice in men
Your voice is not just a product of your larynx, and is also contributed to by the lungs, diaphragm and muscles associated with breathing. The overall changes of ageing in the voice can lead to a more effortful and tiring voice that feels more unstable.