It’s the time of year when we start to feel Autumnal. The small changes start adding up – a few more leaves on the ground, a minute or two less daylight. Before you know it, the central heating is back on and you’re spending an embarrassing amount on pumpkin spiced lattes. And as we head towards the end of another year, it seems the perfect moment to talk about voice over age.
It’s an inescapable fact that our voices change. Voices can shift dramatically in puberty and continue to develop throughout our lives. Changes to voice aren’t something to most people worry about, but voice over age impacts a voice artist’s whole career.
So what causes these changes? What can be done to keep the voice healthy for longer? And if your voice over age does change, what should you do?
Voice Over Age: The Biology
The larynx and vocal cord tissues are responsible for the changes in our voice. They reach maturity in our teenage years and it’s these rapid changes that lead to the breaking of boys' voices in puberty.
It won’t be a surprise that male voices are subject to the most change. Men’s larynxes change more than women’s, and the changes happen earlier in their lives. Microscopic fibres in the vocal folds become stiff, which can increase the pitch of a male voice. Women’s vocal pitch tends to stay the same, or lower slightly.
As our bodies age, those changes also have an impact on the voice. Vocal endurance can suffer, as can volume and projection. Changes in our hearing can also impact the way we speak, as we tend to over-compensate with our voice.
This may seem depressing, but for most artists, significant changes to voice over age are a long way down the line. As with most other aging factors, there’s also plenty that can be done to ensure your voice stays healthy.
Voice Over Age: What You Can Do
Diet and exercise… you know it’s great for your body, but it’s also hugely important for your voice. A healthy older person can have a stronger, healthier voice than an unhealthy younger person.
While piling up the veggies and visits to the gym may not be appealing, good nutrition helps to keep your voice in shape. Exercise is also great for lungs and projection!
Most importantly, if your voice has changed (or is worrying you) make sure to see a doctor for medical advice.
Voice Over Age: Your Career
An artist’s voice over age may change several times throughout their career. With that comes changes to the type of work you are offered and, perhaps, a redefinition of your unique selling points.
Fortunately, your agent is here for those times! Keep a conversation open (and your voice reel up to date) and any changes to your voice over age can become a positive.