PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Puberty: Voice Changes: The Down-Low

Ever seen a big choir sing? You probably noticed something strange: the singers who handle the highest parts of the music are all young boys. This is because adult men have lower, deeper voices than kids do, and they can't hit the high notes. Why, you ask? Puberty!

For guys, one of the most obvious signs of puberty isn't something you see, it's something you hear. As you go through puberty, your voice will get lower in pitch and start to sound more "grown-up." You might be tired of answering the phone and having people mistake you for your mom or sister. Pretty soon, that won't be a problem anymore. You'll be talking like a man.

Why does this happen?
Well, like a lot of puberty's changes, it's all about size.

Your voice comes from muscles in your throat called your vocal cords, which are located inside the voicebox, or larynx. Small vocal cords make high sounds, and bigger vocal cords make lower sounds. It's just like a guitar: a skinny string makes a high note, while a big, thick string makes a low note. As your body grows during puberty, your voice box and vocal cords also grow. As they get bigger, your voice changes and gets lower. Simple as that!

You might notice that when your voice first starts getting lower, it also sounds a bit squeaky or strange (usually at really inconvenient moments). People might say that your voice is "breaking" or "cracking." That's because your voice box, or larynx, is growing. After a few months, your voice will settle into its lower, more grown-up tone.

How About Them Apples?
Puberty may bring another change to your throat: an Adam's apple.

What is it?
An Adam's apple is a bump or lump in the front of your neck. It looks like something is sticking out of your throat. Many guys grow Adam's apples when they go through puberty, but many don't. In some cases, girls can get them too, but most don't.

Why does this happen?
We've already talked about how, as your vocal chords get bigger, the larynx gets bigger too. Sometimes it gets so big that it bulges out of your neck, making the lump of an Adam's apple.

Does size matter?
Nope, not at all. Some guys get big Adam's apples, some get small ones, and some don't get them at all. It's just like having ears that stick out or lay flat, or having straight or curly hair. These are differences that come from your DNA (the stuff you get from your parents that makes you an individual), and everyone is different.

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