Changes in the male voice at puberty
- aVoice Clinic, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, bDepartment of Paediatrics, St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, cDepartment of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, dDepartment of Paediatrics, University of Cambridge
- Professor I A Hughes, Department of Paediatrics, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Box 116, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ.
- Accepted 15 July 1997
The changes in the male voice in relation to the biological characteristics of puberty were assessed longitudinally in 26 boys. Speaking and singing fundamental frequencies were analysed in relation to the Tanner staging of puberty, saliva testosterone levels, and the Cooksey classification of voice analysis. There were abrupt changes in voice characteristics between Tanner stages G3 and G4 and more gradually from stages C3 to C5 of Cooksey. Although testosterone concentrations were not predictive of the changes, there was a correlation with testis volume. Voice fundamental frequencies were seen to change abruptly in late puberty, in contrast with previous studies. There is a good correlation between the Tanner and Cooksey methods of classification during male puberty.
Voice ‘breaking’ is a late event in male puberty
Changes in voice fundamental frequencies correlate with testis volume, but not testosterone levels
There is a clear relation between the Tanner stages and a Cooksey musical classification during male puberty