Vocal Fry on the Rise: Way of Talking Blamed on Pop Culture

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLEVELAND-- You've probably never heard of it. But you've probably heard it before.

Experts call it vocal fry and it's creeping into the conversations of young women.

"Vocal fry is when the voice sinks from the front to the back of the throat. It sounds like bacon sizzling in a pan," said Dr. Nicole Maronian, director of the Voice and Swelling Center at University Hospitals.

Dr. Maronian says she is seeing more cases of vocal fry, also known as glottal fry, in younger women.

So why is this low-pitch way of talking so popular?

Experts blame pop culture. "It probably started with Meredith Grey on 'Grey's Anatomy' where she had this very tired-sounding voice dealing with lots of troubles and dramas.  Now we are seeing that with the reality shows and 'Keeping up with the Kardashians.' Our young people are seeing that and modeling off that voice quality," said Dr. Maronian.

But doctors say imitation can quickly become habit; a habit with consequences to the vocal chords.

"For one, it's fatiguing to use. Two, it can cause swelling. And three it can cause lesions that can cause more aggressive intervention, even surgery," added Dr. Maronian.

So can vocal fry be reversed?

Doctors say absolutely. "First they have to release they are doing it. Then, I teach them how to correct that, which is by increasing breath support and using techniques called forward focus therapy and resonant voice therapy," said Dr. Tracey Newman, clinical voice specialist.

And while doctors realize young women are just trying to find their voice, using that voice might not necessarily reflect what is on the inside.

"Vocal fry can come off that they don't care, that they're too cool. It doesn't really matter to them, when they might not be thinking that at all," added Dr. Newman.

22 comments

Comments are closed.