How older adults relate to their own voices: a qualitative study of subjective experiences of the aging voice

Emma Lindstrom, Greta Ohlund Wistbacka, Agnes Lotvall, Roland Rydell, Viveka Lyberg Ahlander

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Abstract

Aim The aim of this study was to investigate how otherwise healthy older adults with self-assessed voice problems relate to their voice and voice changes. Method Focus groups were conducted at an activity center to identify how older adults reflect on their own voice and the aging voice in general. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. The analysis was done using thematic content analysis. Results The analysis resulted in three main themes: "communicational aspects of the aging voice," "consequences of deteriorating vocal and communicative capacity," and "attitudes, strategies, and ideas". The participants considered voice to be an important communication tool and presented what could be interpreted as awareness regarding their voice. Voice changes were considered a natural part of aging. This attitude was also an important reason why the participants had not sought medical care for their voice problems. The participants discussed ideas concerning extended voice use to maintain a functioning voice when aging. Simultaneously, voice changes due to aging were considered to have a negative effect on communication and social participation. Conclusions The voice is important for older adults, and an insufficient voice can affect communication and social participation. Information about aging voice and voice exercises, for example from speech language pathologists, could be of interest among older adults. Further studies on the voice of older adults are needed regarding how they experience their voice and the general aspects of a healthy aging voice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLogopedics Phoniatrics Vocology
Volume47
Issue number1
Number of pages9
ISSN1651-2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Voice problems
  • Social participation
  • Presbyphonia
  • Communication
  • Focus group interviews

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