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Negative impact of testosterone

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

Transgender and non-binary people who want a masculine voice often take Testosterone.

Testosterone and your voice

Transgender and non-binary people who want a masculine voice often take Testosterone to achieve those lower tones, and depending on dose and route of administration, you can often hear these changes pretty quickly. Testosterone lowers the voice because it thickens the vocal folds, which slows down the rate of vibration (Poretsky,. Et al., 2019).

The impact of testosterone to the voice is similar to a cismale going through puberty, and will permanently change the voice even when administration has stopped.

How long will it take for my voice to deepen?

It varies from person to person;

  • One study reported a time frame of 6-10 weeks after starting testosterone (Gooren, 2005).

  • A study concluded that the voice was finished lowering after 12 months of testosterone treatment (Nygren et al,. 2016)

  • Another study concluded varied changes in pitch within 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months (Van Borsel et al., 2000).

The effects of testosterone isn't always desirable!

Although these results are exciting and much anticipated, research has demonstrated that while testosterone can change pitch, it’s effect on the voice can be negative (Hancock et al., 2017, Azul, D., 2015) and cause a condition described as “entrapped FtM vocality” (Adler et al., 2012).

Entrapped FtM vocality occurs when the vocal folds thicken dur to testosterone, but the size of the vocal tract has not increased (Poretsky, 2019). This means there is less room for the sound to travel in, resulting in more feminine resonance (vibrations towards the face) compared to a cismale (Poretsky., et al., 2019) which can make a voice sound rough or hoarse.

Although Entrapped FtM vocality is rare, it is important to know that it can happen, and it’s best to consult with a speech pathologist if this is the case.

I hope you found this information helpful, and if you'd like to ask a question, please feel free to contact me; or call me on 0405 209 953.

Thanks, and have a lovely day :)

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