Health Magazine

Reclaiming Our Voices in Midlife

Posted on the 17 May 2021 by Lynettesheppard @LynetteSheppard
Reclaiming Our Voices in Midlife

Standing Tall © lynette sheppard

I really thought that after 15 years of blogging and writing about menopause that I knew virtually every change that happens with the Big M. Turns out that I can still be surprised.

The minute Nancy Bos told me about hormonal voice changes during and post-menopause, I said to myself “well duh!”. It was obvious the minute she said it, though I’d never thought or heard about it before that moment. Sure, aging may come with voice changes but all we have to do is remember the voice changes that occur during puberty to know that hormones affect the voice too.

When Nancy asked if I’d noticed changes in my singing voice, I confessed that I am not a ‘real’ singer. I sing with the radio, in the shower, and sometimes with Theresa because she is such a good friend. Nancy responded that we are all singers – regardless of whether we do it professionally or in a choral group. She’s right, of course.

It just happened that I had recently finished a book in which the author wrote about her midlife changes. Among those was a change in her voice – dryness, lack of volume, cracking. She was not a professional singer but was a college professor and suddenly had trouble speaking in the lecture hall for a full hour. She ultimately went to a voice coach and regained much of her vibrancy in her voice.

I asked some of our original goddesses if they had noticed voice changes. K sings for musical theater productions – and related that she had lost range, though she was still able to perform. She said that her voice is “rougher” and that it happened almost overnight. C had a hysterectomy in her 30’s and didn’t take up singing again until her kids were grown, so she didn’t know. T hasn’t noticed a change. I feel like the higher notes are hard for me to reach – and my voice doesn’t seem as smooth.

Whether we sing much or not, our voice is an important part of us – an important part of our identity. As with all the changes with menopause, voice changes can be disconcerting and upsetting.

Nancy sent me a copy of the book she co-authored with Joanne Bozeman and Cate Frazier-Neely. It’s called “Singing Through Change, Women’s Voices in Midlife, Menopause, and Beyond.” It’s filled with women’s stories of how the Change affected their voices – and how they reclaimed them. Two years of research was conducted by these three voice experts – and it’s a brilliant read. I couldn’t put it down.

Physical conditions such as acid reflux can affect the voice. So can vocal cord cysts, injury, or paresis. Diagnosing and treating any of these conditions is important for voice health.

Even in the absence of medical conditions, hormonal changes can cause dryness and other changes in range and flexibility. Diet, vocal exercise, proper hydration – all of these are important in overall vocal health. The book also offers remedies and resources to regain and renew our voices.. And women’s voices need to be heard, perhaps now more than ever.

Every woman is different and has her own unique menopause journey. It’s the same for voice changes. Let us know if you have noticed changes in your voice. Then take that first step and get the book: Singing Through Change.

Check out Nancy’s website: Nancy Bos and the resources at the Celebrate Singing Conference Presentations for more info.

Note: Menopause Goddess Blog has been around for over 15 years and in that time we’ve covered just about every symptom or development in menopause health multiple times. Lucky for us, we have an amazingly good search function on the site – so if you want more info on any symptom, remedy, product – just put it in the search box and all posts related to it will come up.

That said, we plan to launch online get-togethers via Zoom to talk and share about all things menopause. And aging gracefully. And the Second Half of life. So if you are interested and want to be included, please send your email address to me at [email protected] Stay safe and stay cool!


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