Vocal aging and the impact on daily life: a longitudinal study.
Leeuw, I.M. de
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Longitudinal studies on vocal aging are scarce, and information on the impact of age-related voice changes on daily life is lacking. This longitudinal study reports on age-related voice changes and the impact on daily life over a time period of 5 years on 11 healthy male speakers, age ranging from 50 to 81 years. All males completed a questionnaire on vocal performance in daily life, and perceptual and acoustical analyses of vocal quality and analyses of maximum performance tasks of vocal function (voice range profile) were performed. Results showed a significant deterioration of the acoustic voice signal as well as increased ratings on vocal roughness judged by experts after the time period of 5 years. An increase of self-reported voice instability and the tendency to avoid social parties supported these findings. Smoking males had a lower speaking fundamental frequency compared with nonsmoking males, and this seemed reversible for males who stop smoking. This study suggests a normal gradual vocal aging process with clear consequences in daily life, which should be taken into consideration in clinical practice as well as in studies concerning communication in social life.