Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Age-Related Vocal Changes Often Misdiagnosed, Study Finds

Date:
November 24, 1999
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
A new study of people age 70 to 80 suggests that the human voice undergoes many changes during the normal aging process, returning some men to the higher-pitched tone they once had before adulthood and leaving some women with a deeper voice.

Attention Editors, Reporters: The conference presentation on which this story is based is available by calling Kelli Whitlock at (740) 593-2868 or Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166.

ATHENS, Ohio – A new study of people age 70 to 80 suggests that the human voice undergoes many changes during the normal aging process, returning some men to the higher-pitched tone they once had before adulthood and leaving some women with a deeper voice.

Researchers say the study points to the need for an acoustical test to accurately monitor potential voice disorders in the elderly. Currently, speech pathologists use tests based on the voice patterns of young and middle-aged people, which can lead them to confuse normal vocal changes related to aging with a voice or speech disorder.

"We know that there is a natural aging process and that it affects the voice," said Steve Xue (pronounced SHWA), assistant professor of hearing and speech sciences at Ohio University and lead author of the study. "We wanted to know if those vocal changes were sufficient enough to warrant a diagnostic test for older people. Clearly, they are."

The study, which included 21 men and 23 women, was completed last year and presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in San Francisco.

Researchers collected voice samples and examined frequency, pitch, tone and other vocal characteristics from the elderly study participants and compared those findings with earlier studies of young and middle-aged people. Using acoustical devices currently employed by speech pathologists which are based on normal speech by younger people the researchers found that the elderly study participants had significantly poorer vocal quality than their younger cohorts.

In addition to the higher frequency noted in men and the lower tones recorded in women, the researchers also found that study participants had a harder time keeping a stable tone when speaking and often had voices that were harsher and more hoarse than those of younger people.

While Xue is interested in the study's findings about age-related changes in voice, he said the implications of the work are most immediate for clinicians. Until now, speech pathologists had very little data to indicate the normal voice and speech patterns of the elderly, which they can use with conventional acoustical tests to accurately identify problems and prescribe treatment. But this research provides some normative data, Xue said.

"If you use a younger person's yardstick to measure an older person's problems, you are likely to have a misdiagnosis," he said. "Speech pathologists should be cautious in diagnosing speech problems in the elderly because they will have quite different voice and speech patterns than what the test will measure. If these tests indicate a problem, they can look at the normative data we've collected and form a more accurate diagnosis."

Xue plans to conduct another study on elderly voice patterns with a larger study group, continuing the work he began while a faculty member at Arkansas State University and the University of Houston. In addition to studying vocal changes, he plans to examine the physiological age-related changes in the human vocal tract the tube from the larynx to the lips.

The research was co-authored by Dimitar Deliyski, a digital engineer formerly with Kay Elemetrics Corp. in New Jersey, now with Vocal Point, Inc. in San Francisco. Xue holds an appointment in the College of Health and Human Services.

- 30 -

Written by Kelli Whitlock.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Age-Related Vocal Changes Often Misdiagnosed, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991124070453.htm>.
Ohio University. (1999, November 24). Age-Related Vocal Changes Often Misdiagnosed, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991124070453.htm
Ohio University. "Age-Related Vocal Changes Often Misdiagnosed, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991124070453.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins