Vocal indices of biological age

Robert L. Ringel, Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It seems appropriate to indicate the direction in which our past research now leads us. We are planning a longitudinal study involving 200 elderly male subjects to further investigate the influence of the subjects' physiological status on their phonatory and auditory performances. Subject evaluations will be conducted at three different times throughout the course of the investigation. The research protocol will include comprehensive physiological and biochemical evaluations along with state-of-the-art voice acoustic and auditory assessments. Those aspects of subject performance to be sampled will include (1) measures of voice fundamental frequency, duration, intensity, jitter and shimmer, harmonics/noise ratios, and listener perceptions of vocal quality; (2) measures of auditory sensitivity, discrimination, and acoustic immittance; and (3) measures of hemodynamic, pulmonary, metabolic, and biochemical function. Relationships among these variables will be probed through univariate and multivariate statistical approaches. A special feature of this study will allow for the classification of subjects in accordance with a fitness criterion which precludes the necessity of excluding elderly subjects who are unable to participate in the exercise tests frequently required for determination of physical fitness. By taking into consideration physiological status in addition to chronological age, groups will be defined more appropriately, thus reducing intragroup variability and increasing our ability to detect important changes in auditory and acoustic performance that occur in senescence. We anticipate that this study will contribute to the normative base on senescent changes of voice and will serve to clarify the relationship of such changes to general and certain specific aspects of health status. The longitudinal nature of the study will provide information whereby the extent to which changes in laryngeal function can be predicted by measures of physiological status. Better knowledge of the normative aspects of aging and of the impact of degenerative processes on communicative processes will also facilitate a deeper understanding of the basic mechanisms that underly control of the laryngeal mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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