Effects of Aging on Vocal Fundamental Frequency and Vowel Formants in Men and Women



      This study reports data on vocal fundamental frequency (fo) and the first four formant frequencies (F1, F2, F3, F4) for four vowels produced by speakers in three adult age cohorts, in a test of the null hypothesis that there are no age-related changes in these variables. Participants were 43 men and 53 women between the ages of 20 and 92 years.


      The most consistent age-related effect was a decrease in fo for women. Significant differences in F1, F2, and F3 were vowel-specific for both sexes. No significant differences were observed for the highest formant F4.


      Women experience a significant decrease in fo, which is likely related to menopause. Formant frequencies of the corner vowels change little across several decades of adult life, either because physiological aging has small effects on these variables or because individuals compensate for age-related changes in anatomy and physiology.

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