As you age, so does your voice. While these changes can be different in everyone, humans are regularly experiencing hoarse and breathy voices as they grow older. Your voice is changing, too.
Before, most people would choose to resign from work because of aging, but today with people living longer and working longer, a great number of people are looking for treatment options. As the quality of life improves, one can feel very uncomfortable about problems or difficulties in speaking and swallowing.
Voice is produced when the two vocal folds inside the throat close and vibrate. The vocal folds come together and close in order to prevent food from going down into the lungs when swallowing food. The aging of voice develops when the muscle of the vocal fold is atrophied and wrinkled as you age.
The aging of voice happens as the muscles and skin of the body grow old. It is an overall body-aging process. If left alone, this ‘a bit hoarse voice’ could disturb your daily life. It could hinder your conversation, or ruin your dinner time. What is worse, the aging vocal folds will not be able to close when you swallow food, so the food can go into your lung. If the food stays there for a long time, the risk of having pneumonia, lung trouble, and other diseases grows higher. This process of slow and severe hoarseness of voice is called the aging of vocal folds, or presbylaryngis.
Unlike presbylaryngis, if a sudden voice change happens and lasts for a long time, it could be a symptom of thyroid cancer, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, or heart disease. The nerve that controls the vocal folds is the Laryngeal nerve, a nerve that runs the brain, thyroid gland, larynx, lung, and the heart. Diseases like cancer or an aftereffect of a treatment may cause hoarseness. Therefore, it is necessary to have a close examination if hoarseness continues for over two weeks.
The hoarseness of voice is due to aging. However, it can be recovered through laryngoplasty, just like face lifting. To restore the vibration and contraction of the vocal folds, an implant is injected to the wrinkled or atrophied vocal folds to increase its volume and tension. This method only takes 15 minutes, and the patient can go back to regular activities very soon, soon enough to eat right after the surgery.
In most cases, it can recover after just one surgery. However, if the symptom is left alone for long, the vocal fold muscles will be atrophied and you might need several more surgeries. Therefore, it might be better to take injection laryngoplasty if you are diagnosed as presbylaryngis and want to get good voice for your social life.
Hyung-Tae Kim, MD, PhD is the leading specialist at the Institute of Performing Art Medicine, Yeson Voice Center in South Korea. His speciality Clinic is a member of the Medical Tourism Association. You may contact Dr. Kim at Yeson Voice Center, #638-13 Ssangbong bldg. 2nd Fl., Shinsadong Gangnamgu, Seoul 135-896, South Korea
TEL: 82-2-3444-0550, FAX : 82-2-3443-2621, E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org