What happened to high-voiced Old-Timers?
This is probably a poor observation, but anyway:
In previous generations most old men, and most men with hearing problems, talked in extremely high voices.
I don't notice this tendency in modern times; it seems to have disappeared during the Greatest Generation. I don't hear any squeakers around me on the bus or in stores, nor among the old dudes who call into radio shows. The only high male voices heard today are Hindus, who acquire it culturally. (Believe it or not, squealing is the mark of high caste, the mark of authority!)
Within my own family, my grandfather (born around 1900) was a squeaker; my father (born around 1920) never got squeaky; and I (born around 1950) haven't turned squeaky yet
. Remains to be seen. Or heard.
Some nicely audible examples:
Here's GW Carver interviewed at age 75.
[Start at 15 minutes into the clip.] Sounds like a girl!
Here's an actor portraying Edison,
who had a hearing loss. [Start at beginning of clip.] Waaaay up there!
And here's the Old Timer in the Fibber show.
He appears briefly in almost every episode, but he's the main character in this one.
The change in hearing-impaired males is explainable: better hearing aids, better speech therapy when young. But the age-related change (if I'm observing accurately) doesn't have an obvious cause. Influence of radio and TV? Maybe.
Labels: 20th century Dark Age