Monday, February 29, 2016

Puberphonia

My son is 18 years old with severe social anxiety. He also has a soft high pitched voice. He has seen an ENT who examined his vocal cords with a scope and said they were very tight. He recommended voice therapy. My son went to about 12 voice sessions but did not respond well because of anxiety about using the deeper voice outside the therapist's office. I've read that thyroplasty can help deepen a man's voice. Is it worth exploring? What are the risks involved? Thanks.

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes... 

In the absence of anatomic or physiologic abnormality, persistence of abnormally high pitch in young men or women after the onset of puberty is referred to a "puberphonia." Definitive treatment of puberphonia is voice therapy with a speech pathologist who specializes in the treatment of voice disorders. From your question, I take it that your son was able to achieve more normal voicing in therapy, but anxiety is preventing him from maintaining the more normalized pitch; if this is the case, I would suggest evaluation and treatment for anxiety. I believe that he would have difficulty finding a surgeon willing to operate on a young man with a healthy larynx, who is physically able to acheive normal voicing. Best of luck to you both.

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