Evaluation of Phonatory Function in the Elderly
This chapter summarizes how aging affects vocal function. First, the changes in voice pitch vary according to gender. Elderly men tend to speak at a higher pitch than younger men, whereas postmenopausal women speak at a lower pitch than younger women. Second, maximum phonation time is not a useful tool for assessing the healthy elderly, but it can be used for patients with age-related vocal fold atrophy. Third, aging has no impact on the mean airflow rate, but it affects airway resistance. The elderly tend to have lower airway resistance than younger people. However, no consensus exists on whether aging has an impact on expiratory pressure and sound pressure level. Finally, the elderly tend to have a weaker ability to regulate the larynx than the young.
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