Changes in Acoustic Characteristics of the Voice Across the Life Span: Measures From Individuals 4–93 Years of Age PurposeThe purpose of the present investigation was to examine acoustic voice changes across the life span. Previous voice production investigations used small numbers of participants, had limited age ranges, and produced contradictory results.MethodVoice recordings were made from 192 male and female participants 4–93 years of age. Acoustic measures of fundamental ... Article
Article  |   August 01, 2011
Changes in Acoustic Characteristics of the Voice Across the Life Span: Measures From Individuals 4–93 Years of Age
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elaine T. Stathopoulos
    University at Buffalo, NY
    University at Buffalo, NY
  • Jessica E. Huber
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Joan E. Sussman
    University at Buffalo, NY
    University at Buffalo, NY
  • Correspondence to Elaine T. Stathopoulos: stathop@buffalo.edu
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Robert Hillman
    Associate Editor: Robert Hillman×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   August 01, 2011
Changes in Acoustic Characteristics of the Voice Across the Life Span: Measures From Individuals 4–93 Years of Age
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2011, Vol. 54, 1011-1021. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0036)
History: Received February 8, 2010 , Revised August 24, 2010 , Accepted November 22, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2011, Vol. 54, 1011-1021. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0036)
History: Received February 8, 2010; Revised August 24, 2010; Accepted November 22, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 32

PurposeThe purpose of the present investigation was to examine acoustic voice changes across the life span. Previous voice production investigations used small numbers of participants, had limited age ranges, and produced contradictory results.

MethodVoice recordings were made from 192 male and female participants 4–93 years of age. Acoustic measures of fundamental frequency (F0), sound pressure level (SPL), and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were made. Coefficients of variation for F0, SPL, and SNR served as measures of variability. Variables were analyzed separately with stepwise regressions, using age and sex as predictors.

ResultsDifferences in F0 and SNR across the life span were sex specific. Male and female participants demonstrated significant nonlinear trends for F0, but the trends were stronger for male participants. Female participants demonstrated a similar nonlinear trend for SNR, whereas male participants demonstrated linear increases in SNR with age. Variability of F0, SPL, and SNR followed nonlinear trends, higher at younger and older ages.

ConclusionsChanges in voice production occur throughout the life span, often in a nonlinear way and differently for male and female individuals. Higher variability of acoustic measures of voice in both young and old speakers reflects changes in anatomic structure, physiologic mechanisms, and motor control.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access