The Changing Voice in the Elderly

As people age, the larynx (voice box), vocal cords, and voice-producing mechanism age just as the rest of the body. Age-related voice changes develop as muscle and other tissues in the larynx and vocal cords shrink, thin, and stiffen. Voice changes can begin as young as age 50.


  • Normal aging process
  • Decreased hormones
  • Medication
  • The larynx and vocal cords then:
    • Atrophy (shrinkage) of muscle
    • Thinning of mucous membranes
    • Stiffening of connective tissues


  • Higher pitch in men – Lower pitch in women
  • Loss of projection and resonance
  • Reduced volume and endurance
  • Voice tremors (shakiness)
  • Weak or breathy voice

Depending on the cause treatments may include:

  • Botox injections to reduce vocal tremor
  • Filler or fat injections to enlarge vocal cords that have lost muscle tone- temporary
  • Thyroplasty, surgery for implants into the vocal cords for a stronger voice
  • Voice therapy with exercises to reduce throat strain, improve vocal stamina, and find the optimal pitch and volume