The Voice and Age
why do most people resign themselves to letting their voice go when they’d never be so careless about their waistline?!
“Oh!”, said the lady on the other end of the phone, “I thought you were much younger than that!”
After quite a long and complex conversation she needed to know my details for some transaction, hence asking my age. (Was it a bank? insurance company? No idea, but the compliment – that I do remember.)
It felt good to hear, cheered me up!
My work is all about the impact the voice can have on others – for good or bad.
This interchange reinforced yet again my conviction that our vocal sound conveys so much about who we are – and what are intentions are – our very identity relies upon it.
And it got me thinking. Most of us work so strenuously to keep the physical effects of aging at bay – from face creams to exercise regimes – yet very few give a thought to the voice, which is probably the biggest giveaway of the lot!
Presbyphonia is the technical term for deterioration of the voice, the wobbling and weak sound (phonation) associated with advancing age. In general men tend to be able to access only the lower part of the voice, and women the higher. But essentially both lose the middle, which leads to the “yodel” effect, wavering between high and low, like a teenage boy when his voice breaks.
Why? As with any physical movement muscles are involved, and muscles lose their tone over time, as do the tissues which they no longer stimulate.
Yes, it’s yet another USE IT OR LOSE IT situation!
The good news is that much can be done to help, especially if you start earlier in life (40 – 65), and even after that. Development of the vocal functions in a balanced way, reading out loud, singing, exploring and having fun with the voice – what’s not to like?!
[Conversely, I’ve helped many a younger female client suffering from a too “girlish”, sound, which meant that they weren’t taken seriously for leadership positions. So it’s not all one-way! ]
Back to the lady from the bank (or whatever), I’d just like to say: thank you very much, it’s always worth giving a compliment – that’s another lesson we can take away from this story!
I’d love to hear your experiences – personally or with others on this topic.
Do you think having an older/younger sounding voice can affect your chances in your professional sphere?
To Be Heard is to Be Seen