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Confused because a boy after puberty changed his voice “tomorrow”

I doubt my own gender because my voice suddenly changed

Boys go through puberty at the age of 12. After puberty, he discovered that his voice was unstable. High voice, like a female voice “waist”, accompanied by tired, out of breath.

His voice is often raised like a female, weak and sometimes lost to words, uncontrollable. Thinking about puberty, many things change, he doesn’t talk to his parents.

The boy’s parents were busy with work, so they didn’t notice, but after 5 months, the family discovered an abnormality in the child’s voice.

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Doctor instructs patient in voice exercises

To treat her son, his mother took him to a specialist in Endocrinology and Pediatrics and ruled out secondary sexual dysfunction. He even participated in the vocal training of a music teacher but did not improve.

The disease tends to get worse, the boy is shy and afraid to go to school because he is often teased by his friends.

“If only listening to the voice but not seeing the picture, many people will mistake the boy for a woman”, said MSc Nguyen Thi Hong Nhung – Department of Otolaryngology of Bach Mai Hospital.

Another case also examined and treated by Dr. Nhung is an 18-year-old male student in Hanoi. Also suddenly changed his high voice after puberty, the young man was very confused.

From a lively, active male student, he became quiet, closed, or shy because every time he spoke, he became a “comedy burden” for his friends. His voice changed into a “fawn” female tone, his chirping voice, his gentle walking style also made himself and his acquaintances worry whether he had a gender deviation or not.

“In the above cases, the patient did not have any physical damage such as: brain damage, did not detect benign tumors such as fibroids, polyps, cysts or malignant such as laryngeal cancer… but had voice is not the right age, not the right sex” – Doctor Hong Nhung diagnosed two patients with high voice disorder after puberty.

Why “voice error”?

The female doctor said that after puberty high voice disorder is a common disease in men in which the voice pitch remains abnormally high after puberty even though the larynx has developed normally and no abnormalities of secondary sexual characteristics. The main characteristics of the voice are high voice (falsetto), weak voice, sudden pitch change, tired speaking, short of breath, breathing voice, …

Men are more susceptible than women, with an incidence of 1 in 900,000.

This is a disease of the group of functional voice disorders combined with psychological causes.

During puberty, testosterone levels in men increase higher than in women, the larynx in men has changes such as the angle of the thyroid cartilage narrowing and protruding anteriorly, the vocal cords grow longer (about 1cm longer) and thicker. low voice. This change in voice lasts for three to six months and then stabilizes and becomes a man’s voice.

However, there are also many cases where the voice has passed the age of “broken voice”, but the voice is still not “standard”, still high, low, timid, often rising like a woman and sometimes disappearing without words. This expression is considered a voice disorder.

This “vocal error” also occurs in girls, making their voices low, hoarse and difficult to sing high notes… However, this process is slower and not as clear as boys.

According to MSc Hong Nhung, there are many causes of pubertal voice disorders. Usually due to the impact of endocrine causes the voice to change suddenly. Specifically, in boys, when talking, the child’s voice suddenly changes to a low voice, making many children feel shy. They try to “hold on” to their old voice, so they lose the ability to accurately control the pitch of their voice.

In addition, when boys live in families with many sisters or have nutritional deficiencies, respiratory infections, etc., they are also prone to voice disorders during puberty.

The lack of sharing and detection for timely treatment at puberty is also one of the causes.

Some cases of voice disorders may be caused by diseases of the vocal cords such as: congenital grooves in the larynx or patients with endocrine, genital, adrenal and pituitary diseases…

Early intervention so that the “wow” voice does not stick around for life

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Cong Dinh, Head of Department of Otolaryngology (Bach Mai Hospital), voice disorder is not only an abnormal sign of health but also negatively affects communication, work and psychology. quality of life of patients.

“With cases of high-pitched voice disorder after puberty, if not timely intervention, the mellow, soprano voices of young men will become permanent voices, following them throughout their lives,” said Dr. Nhung.

Meanwhile, if detected and treated, preferably before the age of 20, not only the voice will be “corrected” to the correct age and gender; The patient’s quality of life is improved, returning to a normal life.

Receiving male patients with a soprano voice at Bach Mai Hospital, before examining physical or vocal injuries, doctors appoint general tests and gynecological examinations. In particular, hormone problems, testosterone, estrogen… to rule out other causes.

Then, the doctor took a careful history and examined the muscles of the neck, examined by an endoscopic laryngoscope system. This is an effective method of testing voice disorders, especially functional voice disorders, monitoring and guiding the treatment of voice training, voice restoration, diagnosis and treatment of laryngeal diseases.

The patient’s voice was also recorded using a dedicated voice recorder and PRAAT vocal analysis software. In addition, the doctor will ask the patient to perform vocal movements to evaluate the sound perception scales.

Particularly for the two cases above, instead of intervention, surgery, psychological counseling sessions and specialized voice exercises proved effective. Only on the 3rd and 5th sessions of voice training, the patient’s “standard” bass voice improved markedly.

According to Dr. Nhung, the success rate after voice training is up to 80-95% if detected and treated early. However, to be successful requires the support and supervision of the family.

Doctors also recommend that people who see abnormal voice changes lasting more than 2 weeks should visit an ENT specialist.

Thanh Hien

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