[ELI5] Why do old people’s voices sound…old

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You know the sound, sort of gravely? What happens to the aging of vocal cords where the older you get, your voice changes further

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The vocal tract lengthens and grows due to hormonal influence.. testosterone lengthens and makes these tracts bigger.. the vocal folds literally become thicker over time.. So you get a more dark voice.

With age these also kinda wear out if you will. Well not quite that simple…stuff becomes generally more loose and saggy though…that creates that old people voice… since that is a habit.. well if you don’t train to alter it you will go that direction.

You can see this hormonal thing quite well in both post menopausal women and trans man on hormones..and naturally in puberty… if theres less estrogen and more testosterone running through the system you tend to get a more dark. Typically masculine voice.. because those vocal folds change and enlarge over time due to that hormonal influence.

So it is all in all both a mix of stuff just wearing out mechanically becoming more loose and swingy.. also the size and thickness due to hormones doing it’s thing.. also just plain behavioural things..you speak that way naturally so it goes more that direction.. a lot of what we call voice is just trained habit how to use our vocal tract.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Amazing, thank you for the explanation. I didn’t realize the role testosterone continued to play in the body even when we get older. Wild stuff but explains why all of my in laws are starting to sound “dark” hahahah!!

Anonymous 0 Comments

In addition to what has already been stated, some people develop laryngeal polyps, which can also give one that typical gravelly older-person sounding voice.