Puberphonia Essay

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Puberphonia is a condition affecting males predominately, in which an unusually high voice pitch exists beyond puberty (Stemple et al, 2000). Around the age of twelve, males experience a sudden increase in the size of their larynx. Vocal cords increase in length resulting in the vibration of the vocal cords at a lower pitch or frequency. Males who experience Puberphonia, also known as Mutational Falsetto or Juvenile Voice, do not experience any physical differences in their vocal cords or larynxes, but rather, the issue arises from the individual not making the transition into “using the deeper voice which their larger vocal dimensions would normally produce” (Harisinghani, 2009). It is less likely for females to experience Puberphonia, as they do not experience these physiological changes, however it is still possible for females to present a child-like or very juvenile voice (Stemple et al, 2000). The reasons for the symptoms of Puberphonia are seen to be psychological, and are fairly easy to modify (Carlson, 1994). Other symptoms of this condition include hoarseness, breathiness, pitch breaks, inadequate resonance, shallow breathing, muscle tension and lack of variability. Patients also often describe the inability to shout, as well as vocal fatigue (Stemple et al, 2000). There are many reasons in which Puberphonia may occur. These include an embarrassment of the new voice after it ‘breaks’, failure to accept their adult role, social immaturity, muscle in coordination, or even “over identification of a male with his mother” (Stemple et al, 2000). The case may also depend on the individuals’ personal factors such as the desire to maintain a soprano singing voice if part of a choir for example (Stemple et al, 2000). The prognos... ... middle of paper ... ...r (2011) argues however that this intervention technique is not effective. It is argued that it is often not physiologically possible for some individuals to swallow and phonate at the same time. This technique may also induce vocal hyperfunction and damage to vocal folds which can increase the risk of the voice problem worsening. Pannbacker ultimately argues that laryngeal closure techniques “should be used in moderation because of potential damage that can occur” (Pannbacker, 2011). Puberphonia can be successfully treated with voice therapy. Other approaches include reassurance that there is no physical problem causing the high pitch, and laryngeal massage. A lower pitch can often be obtained during the first or second speech therapy session. The main challenge then is for the patient to accept and adjust to the new “adult” sound or role (Bhattarai et al, 2010).

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