Can a Singer Lose Their Voice?

If you are a singer and wondering if you can lose your voice, then the answer is yes.

As a singer you can definitely lose your voice over time as you start to get older.

What happens is that even with good health habits and taking care of your voice, your vocal cords will definitely stiffen and become old with age.

This is as a result of years and decades of the use of your voice and your vocal cords become worn out as you age.

Another thing to note is that as singers grow old, they develop something called growths or nodules in their vocal cords that can bleed and eventually cause scarring of the voice.

This scarring then makes the voice hoarse after a while

Why do singers lose their voice when they get older?

Can a Singer Lose Their Voice?

As I got a lot of questions from clients asking me “can a singer lose their voice?”, I decided to do some research and find out the answer to this question.

The answer I found out is that there is something called :presbyphonia”

What this means is that over time and as you age, your vocal cords starts to get dry

As they get dry, they have less ability to vibrate at high speeds, which is what provides the tone in your voice.

Also, air movement from your lungs may reduce and diminish because of the changes in your lung capacity or the shape of your spine.

Another thing to note is that higher notes in your vocal range requires some flexibility of your vocal cords and also some stretching

This ability to stretch can be largely maintained through regular vocal exercise and singing

This implies that if you do not use it, then you lose it

In my opinion, this is single biggest reason why singers lose their voice as they get older

If you keep on working those vocal cords muscles and using them, then you will definitely have yourself singing well into your old age.

One other thing to note and I keep getting a lot of questions about is at what age do you lose your singing voice?

Like I mentioned earlier, if you keep working those vocal cords and muscles, then you will be able to continue singing without any issues.

But you should note that as you enter your 60s and 70s, your voice starts to change

You begin to notice a sharp difference in the way your voice sounded when you were much younger.

Your vocal cords will weaken, cartilage in your larynx starts to ossify and your respiratory system (which is the powerhouse for your vocal cords) starts to work less efficiently.

This is all normal and should not be a big deal

Stick with your regular vocal exercises and you will not have any problems

When does your singing voice fully develop?

Another common question I get a lot, especially from new singers is “when does your singing voice fully develop”?

The simple answer is that it depends

Now let me explain what I mean by it depends

Take for example, the popular American Singing Show, America’s Got Talent

While watching this show, I have seen teens as young as 12 and 12, coming on the showing and absolutely killing it with their beautiful voices

Also I have seen adults well in their 40s and even 50s coming on the show and also killing it with their angelic and beautiful voices

What am I trying to say here? It all depends

Remember when I said your vocal cords are muscles and if your work on them and train them, then they get better

Same thing here

If as a child, your parents or guardians start helping you out by taking you to a vocal coach who then trains you and shows you how to become a better singer, then at that tender age you will be singing well.

Same thing if you are an adult and you start working on your vocal cords at any age, it starts to get better and you become a better singer.

So the question of when your singing voice actually develops has no direct answer that can be easily answered.

It depends on the age when you start working on your vocal cords and then getting it to the point when it becomes an asset for you.

What do singers do when they lose their voice?

Like I mentioned above, as you get older your voice starts to get hoarse and weak.

But this is not supposed to be a big issue and should not having you stressing out

Here are 5 things you should do when you lose your voice

1. Be Aware

Remember the statement that knowledge is power

Even if you have not began experiencing voice changes, you should be aware of the signs so you can nip them in the bud and treat them before they become a big problem

And one thing you need to know is that being proactive will definitely help you keep your singing voice from going bad.

2. Maintain your overall health

Another issue that most people neglect is their overall health

Your vocal cords are all part of your body and things like Asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder can affect your voice.

That’s because these conditions can restrict your breathing which is vital to voice production.

Finally you want to make sure that the rest of your body is in shape.

Regular exercises will increase your overall stamina, build your muscle tone and improve your posture which then helps contribute to a healthier voice.

3. Practice good vocal hygiene

As you can imagine, how you treat your throat and larynx (voice box) affects your voice.

The larynx should stay moist and flexible, so drink six to eight glasses of water a day.

Limit caffeine and alcohol, which dry out your throat. 

Incorporate “wet snacks — things like grapes, melons, cucumbers — that have a lot of water content,” said Paige. 

Use a humidifier at home to keep the air moist. Here is a perfect example of a humidifier you can use.

And, of course, don’t smoke!

4. Use it or Lose it

Like I keep saying, as you go older the more you use your voice, the stronger it becomes – just like any strength building type of exercise.

So make sure you keep those muscles active.

Fun things you can do include joining a choir, singing with friends, reading aloud or even starting your own band.

The worst thing you can do is to stop using the muscles and stay quiet.

5. Voice therapy

Finally, you can also engage the services of a voice therapist.

What they do is give you a comprehensive voice evaluation which can then rule out any other causes for voice issues such as tumors or lesions.

And they may also suggest a special type of voice therapy which is basically a form of physical therapy or exercises for your vocal cords.

This helps improve the health, function, stamina and quality of your vocal cords.

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