Ceiling effect is a synonym for lowered vocal ceiling. This is a type of vocal phenomenology most often seen in the perimenopausal voice. It may also be seen in cases of superior laryngeal nerve paralysis, or cricothyroid joint ankylosis. The individual with this problem may note that he or she cannot access a part of the upper voice, be that a few notes or an octave or more. As the individual approaches the ceiling of the voice, whether normal or lowered, one begins to hear muscular effort, and often a tendency for the pitch to flat against the person’s will.



Every voice has a natural range (from its “floor” to its “ceiling”), often 2 ½ octaves or more. Over time, some singers notice upper range loss or effortfulness (the ceiling descends). Yet there are no nodules or polyps. When the “muscular ceiling” descends, it feels and sounds like the voice has to be pushed up to its upper range and the throat may almost ache with the effort. And pitch may sag. A common association in women is menopause, but it can be seen in either sex at any age.