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Conditions We Treat: Presbylaryngis (Vocal Cord Atrophy)

As we age, muscle begins to atrophy. The vocal cords are composed of several important layers of tissue, but the fullness and shape of the vocal folds comes from the vocal cord muscle. Age-related vocal cord changes may include loss of volume and bowing (inward curvature) of the vocal cord inner edges - a diagnosis termed presbylaryngis. This may lead to a gap between the vocal cords during speaking, and other muscles may subsequently squeeze more tightly to compensate for reduced vocal cord closure. Other age-related changes to voice may be related to changes in hormones or mucous glands.

Presbylaryngis: What You Need to Know

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  • Voice changes due to vocal cord atrophy are common in people over the age of 60.
  • Common symptoms of presbylaryngis include reduced volume, high pitch, breathy, or "thin" sound, increased speaking effort, vocal fatigue, and difficulty communicating with others (especially in environments with noisy backgrounds).
  • Treatments for presbylaryngis typically involve voice therapy which will focus on improving vocal technique and better breath support.

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Why Choose Johns Hopkins for Presbylaryngis?

Johns Hopkins Voice Center Doctors

Our Physicians

Rely on the expertise of our physicians to treat presbylaryngis.

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Our Services

Johns Hopkins also has a team of expert speech language pathologists who work with presbylaryngis patients who need voice therapy.

Learn more about voice therapy.
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Our Patient Education

Dr. Lee Akst, Director of the Johns Hopkins Voice Center, answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

Watch our Voice Center FAQ video.