Frontlines | Lying About Your Age is Getting Tougher

A person's voice is an age indicator, say researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The team, led by Rahul Shrivastav, assistant professor of communication processes and disorders, determined that two key elements, pitch and rate of speed, can reveal age.

Shrivastav analyzed 30 voices, which listeners frequently had identified as being old or young, to determine common characteristics. Using computer software to manipulate those characteristics, he found that pitch and speed had the strongest effect on listeners' evaluations.

Brooke Hallowell, professor of hearing, speech, and language sciences at Ohio University, Athens, foresees possible clinical applications. "A change in the voice is a very good indicator of some potentially life-threatening conditions, such as throat cancer," she says. "It is important not to dismiss vocal changes as 'part of aging' when in fact they may indicate conditions [that] can and should be...

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