The human body is an interesting interplay of hard and soft. The hard parts, like bones, typically have two main roles – provide structure/form and to protect softer, more vulnerable tissue layers. And, that’s exactly what the Adam’s apple does. It provides a little structural support and protection for the soft, larynx (voice box) that lives inside of it.
Cartilage comprising the Adam’s apple is an extension of thyroid cartilage, so it also helps to protect the thyroid, located below the Adam’s apple at the front base of the neck. The name, “Adam’s apple is a biblical reference, connecting the story of Adam Eve offered him. According to the story, after Adam ate the apple, it became lodged in his throat.
Your voice box and vocal chords work similarly to a set of pipe organs. As such, the larger the pipes, the lower the sound the vocal chords make.
So, while it’s true that men are more likely to have Adam’s apples, it’s also true that some women with deeper voices can have smaller versions, too. This is because the larger the voice box, the larger the larger the Adam’s apple. However, there are cases where women have too much testosterone, in which case the combination of an enlarged Adam’s apple and other symptoms (such as excess hair and/or thinning hair, following male baldness hair patterns) warrant a visit to a physician.
From birth to adolescence, both male and females have larynxes that are similar in size – and no Adam’s apples. Instead, they thyroid cartilage forming a protective shield for their larynx is roughly the same size.
During puberty, however, the male larynx grows in response to , and increased vocal chord size, the reason men’s voices growing deeper as they move through puberty and into adulthood. When the voice box grows, so does that protective layer of Thyroid cartilage.
But again, the thyroid cartilage that encases the voice box can also grow if a female has a larger voice box (taller women may have larger voice boxes and more visible Adam’s apples, although their Adam’s apple isn’t nearly as prominent as a male counterparts’).
As with any part of the body, some Adam’s apples are smaller and others are larger – and that’s par for the course. Within this normal spectrum, the Adam’s apple does not enhance or detract from the typical body functions of eating, swallowing, speaking or .
Unless there’s an anatomical issue, the size of a person’s Adam’s apple is irrelevant. However, there are cases where people opt to have them .
If you’re interested in discussing surgical options for your Adam’s apple, or you fear what is (or isn’t!) happening to your Adam’s apple is out of the norm, schedule an appointment with the ENT specialists here at .
Published on February 13, 2019