Vol 67, No 4 (2016)
Case report
Published online: 2016-07-05

open access

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Gender-related voice problems in transsexuals — therapeutical demands

Maciej Misiołek, Ewa Niebudek-Bogusz, Joanna Morawska, Bogusława Orecka, Wojciech Ścierski, Grażyna Lisowska
Pubmed: 27387248
Endokrynol Pol 2016;67(4):452-455.

Abstract

The paper presents a case study of a transsexual patient who underwent a voice pitch elevation surgery performed in Poland for the first time. The human voice is a reflection of the working of hormones and human psyche. This fact is of particular importance in transsexualism, a disorder consisting in incongruence between the individual’s biological sex and their identified gender. For many transsexual people, especially of the MTF (male to female) type, who have undergone hormonal and surgical sex change, the voice still presents a major problem, causing difficulties in everyday life. Hormonal treatment does not influence feminisation of the larynx. In the described MTF case, the patient’s low androphonic voice was perceived as a male voice.

In order to feminise the patient’s voice a phonosurgical procedure was performed: the length of the vibrating portion of the vocal folds was shortened by over 50% of their total length by means of suturing of the anterior part of the vocal fold. As a result of the surgical treatment the pitch of voice was raised considerably, with F0 of spoken voice increased from 109 Hz to 209 Hz. The voice range also changed towards female tones, from 59–146 Hz to 148–343 Hz. Pitch elevation positively influenced the patient’s subjective voice assessment: total score of the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) improved from 99 to 19 points, and the score of its emotional sub-scale: 39 and 2 points, respectively. The described case of a surgical male-to-female voice change presents one of the dilemmas faced by modern medicine. (Endokrynol Pol 2016; 67 (4): 452–455)