Anatomical alterations The bulk of vocal changes happen throughout puberty. Adult pitch is achieved 2-3 years later, although voice stability does not occur until the early years of adulthood. It normally occurs months or years before the appearance of noticeable facial hair. Young adults' voices typically have higher notes than those of older people because of the lengthening of the vibrating portion of the vocal cord (larynx) during adolescence. This makes it harder to reach high pitches.
Physiological alterations The human voice consists of air which passes through a series of tubes and membranes called "vocal folds". These folds oscillate back and forth creating sound when air is blown into the larynx (the space where the cords are located). As we age, our vocal folds become stiffer and less able to move freely which leads to increased vibration time and lower note quality. Voice breaks also occur as a result of muscle fatigue from overuse or disease. A voice break is when you lose your voice completely for several seconds or minutes. It can be caused by thyroid problems, cancer, or other medical conditions.
Social alterations Adolescence is a time of great transformation both physically and emotionally. Your voice is one of its first signs of growth and development, which can cause embarrassment or concern among peers and parents.
Anatomical alterations The majority of vocal changes occur around puberty. The voice drops and deepens as a result. Along with the larynx, the vocal folds (vocal cords) lengthen and thicken. This allows for more sound to be produced by each breath.
Physiologic alterations The main physiologic change that occurs with age is a reduction in vocal fold vibration rate. This can be measured using a stroboscope or computer program and indicates how many cycles per second or Hertz the voice can go up and down. Vibratory rate decreases with age because the muscle fibers that control it become less responsive to stimulation. Other factors such as disease or injury can also reduce vibratory rate.
Social alterations People over 18 are usually not allowed in school music programs. This is because their voices tend to drop an octave or two and this is not acceptable in an instrumental setting. However, they can sing in church groups or other social settings if they choose to do so.
Yes, as you get older your voice will always be changing. Your body produces more mucus which makes your voice sound thicker and heavier. Also, the muscles that support your voice box relax making your voice lower in tone.
The most significant changes to your voice occur throughout puberty and normally finish by the age of 18. Some people may be able to keep their voice sound fresh for longer, but generally once your vocal cords stop receiving nerve signals they no longer respond to your mind's commands as readily, which can lead to hoarseness, breathiness, and other issues related to voice fatigue.
There are several factors that can lead to losing your voice before this age. Smoking, drinking, using your voice too much, having surgery on your larynx (voice box), having a disease or infection, taking certain medications, and having a history of thyroid problems may all play a role in how late you can sing.
Losing your voice after puberty happens when you damage the muscles inside your throat or voice box causing them not to work properly. The reasons for this vary but usually have something to do with lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, using your voice without rest, etc. If you continue to abuse your voice over time it will become weak requiring medical attention.
People lose their voices for many different reasons. If you're one of them, you need to see a doctor so they can determine the cause of your problem.