Is It Normal for Voice Volume to Decline With Age?

Mar 02, 2024
Is It Normal for Voice Volume to Decline With Age?
Aging can affect various aspects of your voice, including volume. Changes in vocal cord tissue, muscle tone, respiratory function, and neurological factors can all play a role. Learn how to protect your voice as you age.

Many individuals experience a decline in voice strength and projection as they age. We can’t stop the aging process, but you can take steps to help keep your voice healthy and strong.

Ear, nose, and throat specialist Dr. Philip T. Ho and his team at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center in Los Gatos, California, offer expert ENT care for folks of all ages, including those experiencing declining voice quality.  

Check these facts from our team regarding age-related voice changes and how to minimize their effects.  

Understanding voice production

Aging affects every part of the body, including the larynx and the muscles that help produce sound. The larynx is a tube-like structure that sits above the trachea (windpipe) in the neck.

Commonly called the voice box, the larynx plays a crucial role in various functions, such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking.

Key components of the larynx include the vocal cords. These folds of tissue produce sounds when air passes through them, causing them to vibrate.

The vibration of the vocal cords, along with modifications made by the tongue, lips, and other structures in the vocal tract, produces speech, humming, singing, and other vocalizations.

Age-related voice changes

Age-related changes can lead to reduced flexibility and elasticity of the vocal cords, resulting in decreased voice volume and pitch.

These changes may be related to:

Hormonal fluctuations

Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women during menopause and in men with age-related hormonal shifts, can impact the voice. As hormone levels decline, the vocal cords may become thinner and less hydrated, contributing to a softer voice.

Muscle atrophy

Like other muscles in the body, the muscles surrounding the larynx can weaken (atrophy) with age. This loss of strength can affect the ability to produce strong, resonant sounds, decreasing voice volume.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, stroke, or vocal cord paralysis, can also cause changes in voice volume. These conditions may affect the nerves and muscles involved in vocal production, leading to a softer or weaker voice.

Vocal cord polyps, decreased lung function, and other health conditions can also affect voice volume and quality.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can accelerate the decline in voice volume. Smoking in particular can damage the vocal cords and lead to chronic inflammation, impacting voice quality and strength.

Strategies for maintaining vocal health

While some changes in voice volume are inevitable with age, you can take steps to maintain vocal health and preserve your voice, starting with a medical evaluation.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Ho if you’re experiencing changes in voice volume, hoarseness, pain, or difficulty swallowing.

During your evaluation at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center, Dr. Ho can assess the underlying cause or causes and provide appropriate treatment, which may include:

Vocal exercises

Regular vocal exercises can help improve vocal strength, flexibility, and control. These exercises may include humming, lip trills, sirens, and various breathing exercises.

Practicing proper breathing techniques also supports vocal projection. Deep breathing exercises can help strengthen respiratory muscles and improve breath support for speaking.


Staying well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining vocal health. Adequate hydration ensures that the vocal cords remain lubricated and function optimally.

Avoiding vocal strain

Minimizing activities that strain the voice, such as yelling or excessive talking in noisy environments, can help prevent further decline in voice volume.

Voice amplification devices

For individuals experiencing significant difficulty with voice volume, using voice amplification devices can help.

Voice therapy

Voice therapy focuses on improving vocal function, including volume, resonance, and overall vocal health.

Schedule an evaluation at Silicon Valley ENT & Sinus Center today. Call the office or request an appointment online.