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When Does Your Voice Fully Develop?

The voice changes during adolescence thanks to a phenomenon called the “adolescent growth spurt.” Boys will grow about five inches, while girls will grow about four inches.

Both genders experience a growth spurt during puberty, but it’s different for boys and girls. The larynx, or voice box, is higher in women than men, and it’s also larger in women than men. This allows more room for the vocal cords, making women’s voices generally higher-pitched than men’s.

Boys’ voices may also deepen faster than girls’, which is normal for boys’ voices to drop at different rates during puberty.

And girls tend to go through puberty earlier than boys do, but this isn’t always the case. Girls may enter puberty earlier if they have an underlying medical condition or hormone imbalance or if they’re overweight. When a girl hits puberty early, her voice may deepen more quickly than average.

Therefore, when you reach puberty, your body is getting ready for adulthood by producing hormones that increase growth and change your body’s looks and functions. And one of these changes is how your voice sounds – you’ll notice that your voice starts to get deeper and higher as you age.

What Factors Influence the Teenage Voice Change?

The teenage voice change happens at different times for everyone – it can be gradual or happen overnight, but it’s usually noticeable after about two years of puberty. The first sign is usually when boys’ voices start to go “crackly,” which means they will sound like they have a cold or are smoking.

This is because their vocal cords are no longer growing together because the testosterone hormone had entered their bodies and caused this separation when they were younger than 12 years old.

Since this is considered a normal part of development, it’s almost impossible to accelerate or slow down this process. However, some factors may influence how quickly your teen’s voice fully develops:

Age: For most people, their voices change between 13 and 16 years old, but some people experience it earlier or later than this range. If you notice any unusual changes in your child’s voice, such as hoarseness or cracking sounds while talking, it’s best to speak with his/her doctor.

Weight: Being overweight can also lead to a change in voice. It causes an increase in fat tissue around the neck and chest area, which may affect how air flows when speaking. On the other hand, being underweight can cause a lack of nutrients needed to grow bones and cartilage in the vocal folds.

Diet: The foods we eat also affect our vocal cords. A diet high in sugar has been shown to impact the way our voices sound, making them higher-pitched and less mature sounding than usual. Foods high in sugar can also lead to more allergies and asthma, leading to a change in the pitch of your voice.

Smoking: Smoking has many adverse effects on your body. It can cause damage to the delicate tissue and dry out your throat, making it difficult to speak clearly.

Excessive alcohol use: Alcohol use has been linked to lower vocal pitch and increased vocal fry (a soft, creaky sound). So, if you are a heavy drinker, you might notice that your pitch is lower than usual.

Stress: This is one of the major factors affecting your voice quality. When you are under stress, your body releases hormones such as cortisol which causes inflammation and affects your overall voice quality.

What are some tips to support full voice development?

The voice is a muscle, and like all muscles, it needs to be exercised. Without exercise, the vocal cords weaken and lose their flexibility, making it challenging to produce certain sounds or speak for a long time without straining.

Below are some tips for supporting the full voice development:

  • Relax your shoulders and neck and take deep breaths before speaking. This allows blood flow to reach your larynx, which helps with the proper functioning of the vocal cords.
  • Slow down your speech rate or speak in a normal tone of voice. This will help avoid forcing air through tight vocal cords, resulting in injury and pain.
  • Ensure there is no food in your mouth when you talk (especially if you have dentures). This will help prevent food particles from lodging in your throat or causing irritation of the mucous membranes in your mouth as you speak. Take small sips of water rather than taking big gulps at once. This will also help keep food particles from lodging in your throat and prevent dehydration during high humidity.
  • Get into an exercise program that will help support your body’s natural alignment and strength. Find activities that don’t stress your neck and shoulders, such as yoga or swimming.
  • Consult with an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) about any problems with your voice, even if they seem minor. A simple change in diet or exercise routine may be all it takes to get back on track.

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