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Effects of Testosterone Replacement on a Male Professional Singer

      Abstract

      Testosterone has been known to play an important role in the development of the postpubertal male voice for many centuries. In fact, the prevention of pubertal development of the voice by castrating young male singers was a well-known practice, especially in Italy beginning in the sixteenth century. The “castrati” were well known for their clear, high-pitched voices. Because of the resulting small larynx and vocal folds, castrati apparently produced a distinctive resonance as well as the high pitch, which cannot be matched even by the counter tenors of today. Busy voice labs occasionally see males with sex hormone deficiencies secondary to chromosomal or gonadal problems. This is a presentation of an unusual patient who was a trained tenor singer and was found to have hypogonadism on a premarital health examination. Administration of replacement testosterone resulted in significant vocal register and voice quality changes.

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