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Does obesity change your voice?

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Old 12-20-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
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Question Does obesity change your voice?

This is something I've noticed about myself. When I was much, MUCH lighter, my voice was very light, slightly high pitched, almost like a child's. I wasn't very fond of my speaking voice but it was what it was. And most importantly, I could sing. I'm wasn't a good singer but I could carry my voice or deepen it with different pitches easily.

Now, 120-130 lbs later, I feel like my voice has deepened very much. When I try to sing, I just can't. I can't vary the pitch of my voice and if I sing for more than a minute, literally, I can feel my vocal chords straining.

Somebody tell me it's not just me...
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:07 AM   #2
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Well, hormones affect voice change and weight affects how the body produces hormones so I see that as quite possible.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:26 AM   #3
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Mine didn't change. This could be something else. I'd mention it to my PCP.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:18 PM   #4
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Do you know, I've no idea, but it's interesting to think about. I love to sing and I'm quite good at it - but has my weight affected that?

In terms of my singing voice, I'm not sure it has. I think vocal range has something to do with the length of the vocal chords.

But my speaking voice? Perhaps.... Whenever I hear my voice played back to me it astonishes me how deep my voice is. Wow. I wonder if that will change.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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I think I sound the same, but here is a summary of a medical journal article that looked at obesity and voice: http://www.springerlink.com/content/g75gm8988q57p323/

These are the highlights:

Results Obese individuals exhibit the following modifications in voice feature: hoarseness, murmuring, vocal instability, altered jitter and shimmer, and reduced maximum phonation times as well the presence of voice strangulation at the end of emission.

Conclusion The voices of individuals with morbid obesity are different of the voice of nonobese people and demonstrate significant changes in vocal characteristics.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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You know, I have wondered this before. I'm really glad to see this thread, maybe someone will have some answers.

I'm inclined to say yes. Some obese women have deep and husky voices, ones that I haven't encountered among lighter women. I don't know what the relationship is there, whether obesity causes these voice changes or someone who is predisposed to having a deeper voice is also predisposed to obesity, etc. I'm interested to know more about this.

I wonder if anyone's voice has changed after they lost a significant amount of weight?
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:03 PM   #7
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I've wondered this too, after watching Biggest Loser...I thought some of them, particularly Danny, sounded different after losing weight.
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:08 PM   #8
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I asked my SO about the signing/weight thing (she is studying to be a professional opera singer) and she said that the weight on your chest could affect how deeply you could breathe and change your ability to sing. But if you feel it is more in your vocal chords and not your breathing abilities, it might be worth looking into to
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:25 PM   #9
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I had to ask my DH if my voice changed, then asked one of my younger sisters and my mom lol They all said no but I dunno if it's because they don't remember or my voice hasn't changed
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:42 PM   #10
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My voice didn't change, but it is an interesting question.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:21 PM   #11
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Huh, that's really interesting, I never really thought about it. I don't think my voice has changed much, it might have gotten a little deeper with the weight, but not enough that it was noticeable. But I have noticed that since I've been losing weight it is easier singing (probably because I don't get out of breath as easily, lol).
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:34 AM   #12
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Could it also have something to do with a possible thyroid problem? Which would explain the weight gain as well, I suppose....

One of the symptoms of a thyroid problem is your voice deepening and changing and getting almost gravelly. My grandma said that's what happened to her when her thyroid went out of whack (and she's been on thyroid meds for over 50yrs now!).

If you have an extremely had time losing, I'd be sure to get yours checked!
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:48 AM   #13
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Amanda, I have noticed that if I try even a little bit, I lose weight easily. So I'm not so sure if it's a Thyroid issue. However, here has been some growth al around my neck... I don't think it's a goiter but I don't know what else it could be. So I guess I should check after all. We have this discounted glucose, cholesterol and thyroid blood check in my community in February so I'll definitely sign up for that.
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Old 12-21-2009, 04:51 PM   #14
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About 2 months ago I talked to my best friend from high school. Until her subsequent visit I hadn't seen her in about 8 years, since before I gained the weight I've lost. One of the things she said to me on the phone, when we were getting nostalgic, was "you sound exactly the same!" So I don't think mine changed. Or if it did, it went back? For what it's worth, I hardly recognize my own voice sometimes. It strikes me as both too-deep and too frivolous/valley-girl. I know, how lovely.
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:52 PM   #15
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Yeah.... I'd definitely get it checked then! Sounds like that could be a definite possibility. And even if it's NOT a thyroid problem... that growth you're experiencing should be checked to figure out and rule out what it is and isn't! Good luck!
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