As we begin to get older, some of us start to worry about grey hair, wrinkly skin and maintaining a healthy youthful physique. But one of the biggest signs of ageing is forgotten about – and that’s our voice. The voice muscles like all of our muscles need looking after, with many people over 65 suffering from voice problems and others left sounding older than they actually are.
Voice is produced by many different workings in the upper body. To form the sound of voice that we are familiar with, the muscles of the abdominal wall and rib cage squeeze the lungs, making them exhale breath. When airflow comes up the windpipe it passes through the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate creating a buzzing noise. At the same time, the larynx – or voice box as it commonly known – adjusts the tension of the chord producing pitch.
As you get older, these vital tissues become tired. But something as simple as singing in the shower every day can help decrease the speed of the ageing process. This is one of the best ways to help preserve your voice, as it keeps the laryx muscles strong whilst the steam lubricates the voice box.
“Singing is gymnastics for voice” states Dr Andrew McCombe. “The control and neuro-muscular co-ordination you need means the voice is being used in a good way.” Joining a choir is one of the best ways to preserve a youthful tone, says Dr McCoombe. “Professional singers voices take longer to age as they muscles strong.”
So maintaining your youth may be as easy as belting out a few power ballads in the shower, just before your start your day.