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Ask Marilyn: Why Do Young Women Have Such Nasal Voices?
Bob Firestone of Kansas City, Missouri, writes:
Marilyn: Why do so many young girls, women, and some men have such a nasal quality to their voices? You hear it in people from all walks of life. But it's almost a requirement for women in the entertainment industry, business fields, or people who do lots of interviews.
I've noticed this too, and I believe it's usually learned, albeit unconsciously. The phenomenon became noticeable with the rise of women in professional fields and other areas where men have long dominated. My best guess is that the nasal quality makes the female voice more easily heard, which would be important when in the company of male voices, especially when the females are greatly outnumbered. That said, I also think it's a source of low-level irritation!