Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Why Does My Voice Crack?


♪ INTRO ♪ So you’re about to give a big presentation
in front of a ton of people. You start off strong, but in the middle of a sentence, your voice refuses to cooperate. In a blaze of awkward glory, your voice
completely cracks, its pitch wavering uncontrollably. If it’s any comfort, this happens to pretty much everyone at some point. And usually, it’s because of puberty, stress, or illness. Your voice mainly comes from your larynx, or voicebox. The inside lining of your larynx has two flaps of tissue stretching on each side with a gap between them. Those are your vocal folds. When you breathe, your vocal folds open to let air through, but when you speak, they close. And when you talk, sing, or yell, air is blown up from your lungs and past the edges of your closed vocal folds, which vibrate to produce your voice. The position of your vocal folds determines your voice’s pitch, and they can be in any of about 170 different positions. Kids have higher-pitched voices because they have shorter vocal folds than adults. When you hit puberty, your vocal folds lengthen and thicken, and you end up with a deeper, lower adult voice. It’s like how the longer a guitar string is, the lower its note will be. The sudden growth of the voicebox makes it difficult for the vocal folds to maintain steady vibrations, so the voice cracks a lot during this transitory phase. Another reason your voice cracks during puberty has to do with muscle memory. Your vocal folds might automatically go for a pitch that you used to be able to reach, but now can’t, so instead you get all squeaky. Usually male puberty involves much more larynx growth than female puberty, so there’s a lot more voice cracking in the process. But what about people who aren’t experiencing the raging hormones of adolescence? In most cases, adult vocal cracking has to do with stress or illness. When you’re anxious, your vocal folds tend to tense up and your ability to control them shoots down. Also, people tend to forget to take deep breaths in stressful situations. Without a strong breath, there may not be enough pressure against the folds to push out a strong voice. Combine that with a dry mouth and throat, and you have a recipe for very shaky vocalizing. Frequent shouting, screaming or straining can also make your voice crack because the vocal folds get inflamed. In extreme cases, people can even develop nodules—hard, callous-like growths that become larger and stiffer over time if they keep straining their voice. Inflammation and nodules lead to some serious crackage by altering or blocking your airflow. When you get a bad cold, your voice cracks because your vocal folds are irritated from symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Plus, your body’s natural healing process makes vocal tissues thicker than normal and also causes cracking, sometimes long after an illness has passed. Basically, if your voicebox is disturbed in any way, you’re probably gonna start sounding like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow, brought to you by our patrons on Patreon! If you want to support free science information on the internet, you can go to patreon.com/scishow. And if you just want to keep getting smarter with us, go to youtube.com/scishow to subscribe. ♪ OUTTRO ♪

100 thoughts on “Why Does My Voice Crack?

  1. LOL, loved the illustration: When Michael used the word “crack” for the first, he made his voice crack.

    Then again, Michael is the best SciShow host.

  2. i'm wondering, are blood type related to the ability of immune system react to stuff, like A blood type had A aglutinin that aglomerate B type cell, to simplify its mean A type cant accept B type vis versa, but O type can aglomerate all blood type or reject but only accepting its own, AB had total opposite things and accept everything while would be aglomerated by the recepient, so if O react and aglomerate more stuff (blood type) then AB, is it possible that AB had a weaker immune system because how they aglomerate other blood type and O had the strongest because they react to almost everything?

  3. If any GENUINE voice specialists could answer this I'd be grateful. I've had to give up singing as, if singing a scale for example, every other note would be missing. I can't sing at all anymore. Simply no sound will be produced with some notes. And my voice is much deeper and huskier than it should be. I had a camera down and had a sing – up to 1/3rd of my vocal cords don't meet. This has been going on for nearly three years and I've had vocal issues for over 20 years (I've been written about in a journal!) I've been in for a microlaryngoscopy just last week, as the consultant expected a growth/scarring/cyst underneath the vocal cords – but he found nothing. There hasn't been a follow-up but there's nothing more he can do.
    One vocal specialist I've spoken to is flummoxed.

    Any knowledge from people who actually know would be greatly appreciated.

  4. I just had a though and I'm wondering if there has actually ever been any Indiana Jones type artifacts that are riddled with traps that people have found? Anything like that?

  5. um, the length of a string on a guitar has no relation to the pitch. Thickness and tightly wound it is determines that. A comparison to a harp would have been a little better, but these other factors still do come into play.

  6. I remember before I had my tonsils removed, everything was swollen and my 15 year old female voice descended into the voice of Michael Buble! The best part was, my pain medication made me a little woozy, and I would just relentlessly sing Buble Christmas songs! I kinda miss my deep voice..

  7. I'm a classical singer, and my voice cracks always happen on higher notes, and always go an octave or a twelfth above the note I was trying to hit, really loudly. Luckily it hasn't happened when I'm doing a performance yet.

  8. I'm a 13 year old girl and my voice cracks and it goes to a high pitch 😂 one time I was singing in front of my whole class I was singing hello and than when I started to say hello from the other side my voice just crack like crazy for no reason and I sounded like a dieing duck😂😂I was so embarrassed😳😂

  9. I'm 15 and I'm trying to rap, my voice doesn't do high pitched cracks but it seems to have like bumps in my speech 🤷‍♂️ I don't know why it does it or how to prevent it and it makes it hard to rap.

  10. Lol, I was in religious studies at school earlier and I offered to read a page out of a Islam book, so half way through it, my voice cracked (yes I’m a girl it can sometimes happen to girls too I’m 13) and I went “Muhammad also or*IGI*nated from….” lolllll

  11. It’s been happening for me since January. I’ll be talking to my teacher and then it cracks and I sound like a zombie. It feels like
    I can’t speak for a sec

  12. Puberty hit early at age nine, I’m older and on team of all boys except myself. I was cheering and my voice cracked, I joked around and thank the lord they don’t know what voice cracking means. I got so embarrassed but I played it cool. What do I do? I hope when they figure out I’m no where near them. Please some one save me I’m dying of embarrassment..

  13. It's the opposite because all of the boys don't have voice cracks yet but I'm a girl and I have a kind of deep voice and I get SeVeRe VoIcE CrAcKs.

  14. This made me feel better Bc I’m a girl and in front like 6 boys my voice cracked and they looked at me like…

    “ARE U A BOY”
    I wuz like NOOOOOOOO

  15. Since this year my voice cracks happen once at least every 5 sentences. I am talking to my friends then here it comes, THE WORST VOICE CRACK EVER. Seriously it's a BIG problem for me. Hope I can get out of it soon.

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