Audiologist & Speech Language Pathologist, CIHSR, Dimapur
Have you ever come across someone who has an unnaturally high-pitched voice? Most people say that they are just being “childish”. These people end up getting teased, even more if they are male. But what if it is something that they cannot help?
Unnaturally high pitched voice in men in the presence of a structurally normal larynx (voice box) is called puberphonia. Studies show that the incidence of puberphonia is 1 in 900,000 (Bannerjee et al, 1995). These individuals complain of having a high pitched voice that is inappropriate to their age and gender. We are well aware of the fact that adolescent boys undergo voice change during their puberty, when their childish, high-pitched voice slowly changes to a lower one. In puberphonia, this change in voice does not occur, and the high pitched voice persists beyond puberty.
Sometimes, women also face a similar problem. But in their case, it is called “Juvenile Voice”. Here, a woman’s voice also fails to lower during puberty, causing her to have a “childish” voice.
So, is there any treatment available for this? The good news is, “Yes”! Many studies have shown that Voice Therapy is a very effective modality of treatment for puberphonia. Treatment includes several voice therapy sessions with a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) with experience in treating puberphonia. With dedication and hard work from both the individual and the SLP, treatment outcome for puberphonia/ juvenile voice is very good.