Why is my voice changing at age 18?

Last updated on August 4, 2020


I am an 18-year-old male (turning 19 in two months) and I have grown 3/4 of an inch in the past year. However my growth as always kind of been steady; I never really had a huge growth spurt (my peak was 2 inches in one year 14-15). At 5’8 3/8 at just 15 my growth pattern told me that I was going to be 5’11, well it never happened (Dad is 5’11 and mom is between 5’4 and 5’5). Both of my grandpas were 6 feet. When I turned 17 I had grown only to 5 foot 9. I thought I was done growing, even though I looked like a 14-year-old without barely any hair on my face. Well, when I turned 18 during last summer, all of a sudden my voice started cracking, I started growing light facial hair, I had pimples all over the place and grew 3/4 of an inch to my current height of 5’9 3/4. I still have very oily skin and my voice still breaks sometimes and my facial hair grows very slow and I sweat a lot. Do you think I am going to be one of those people who doesn’t stop growing until 21 or I have stopped already? Has anyone ever experienced this?


Human growth contains a lot of variabilities that are still considered “normal.” Most of what you read about in regards to development is based on the typical way people grow, but it doesn’t mean everyone develops in exactly the same order or at the same pace. This is one of the reasons doctors prefer to talk about the stages of development instead of a particular age. If you could, try out the Tanner Stage Calculator for Boys. I put in it all the typical characteristics for each stage and tried to fix a value to it. Of course, it is a self-assessment. People do make mistakes and I tried to compensate for that by weighing the more obvious signs heavier than the more subtle signs. Still, it seems to be fairly accurate.

The growth spurt comes in Tanner’s stage 3 and is defined as a doubling or more of your prior growth rate. Since you grew steadily and not rapidly, you might not see a dramatic increase in height. In fact, you might not detect a growth spurt unless you were plotting your growth at regular intervals on a chart.

My guess from your description of yourself is that you have reached stage four of development. In which case, you probably will grow a bit more, but at a slower rate. However, since you are maturing slowly, I can’t tell you how long you will continue to grow. I can tell you that by the time you reach stage five, your growth will have stopped. If you are really curious, you can ask a doctor to x-ray your left hand and give you a bone age estimate. This tells you if your growth plates are still open and how much potential growth you still have. Unfortunately, the charts used for potential growth are based on typical American boys, and your growth would not be considered typical (not bad, just not what you see in most men).