Will ADT make me a soprano?

Subjective and Objective Effects of Androgen Ablation Therapy on Voice. By Salturk et al 2015 


Key sentence from the paper: “ADT has effects on the human voice.”


For the full abstract, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25704476


Commentary: At puberty testosterone causes males’ vocal cords to lengthen and thicken, lower the pitch of our voices. Removing testosterone in adults does not reverse this. But could ADT lead to other subtle changes in a man’s voice? 

This is the second paper to suggest that the answer is “yes.” The other paper is cited in this one and was published in the same journal back in 2012. The sample sizes are small—18 patients in the older study and 35 in this one—and the patient where on average younger in the newer study, but the authors reached generally similar conclusions. In both studies patients on ADT had weaker voices as exemplified by the time they could sustain a note and perturbations in their voice (e.g., jitter and shimmer) compared to controls not on ADT. Both studies suggest that men on ADT have a slightly higher fundamental or habitual pitch than those not on ADT, but this difference is small and may, in fact, related to the characteristics of the men in the study before they were on ADT. 

This research needs to be repeated with a larger sample size and in with a longitudinal design, where the patients are compared to themselves both on and off of ADT. At the moment though what we can say about ADT’s impact on voice is that it is consistent with its impact on muscles in general. Just as ADT can weaken the muscles in our legs, it can weaken the muscles in our body that force air out of our lungs…as well as those that stabilize our vocal folds when we speak or sing.


Salturk Z, Cakir O, Kumral TL, Yildirim G, Otunctemur A, Aydogdu I, et al. Subjective and Objective Effects of Androgen Ablation Therapy on Voice. J Voice. 2015.