Listener Age and Gender Diversity: Effects on Voice-based Perception of Gender



      An important clinical outcome of voice masculinization treatments in transmasculine speakers is voice-based perception of gender. Rigorous assessments of voice treatment that utilize ratings of perception of gender typically do not control for demographic characteristics of the listeners. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of listeners’ age and gender diversity on voice-based judgments of speaker gender.


      Speech stimuli were produced by a single transmasculine individual over approximately one year of hormone replacement therapy, during which he experienced significant changes in his voice. Three groups of listeners rated speech stimuli on a visual analog scale with anchors ranging from “definitely male” to “guessing male” to “guessing female” to “definitely female.” Listener groups were N = 10 cisgender young adults, N = 10 cisgender older adults, and N = 10 gender diverse individuals.


      All groups rated the speaker as consistently female through week 14 of hormone replacement therapy and consistently male after week 28. Mean responses of the three groups of listeners were highly correlated (Pearson's correlations all r > 0.97).


      Given reasonable group sizes, average ratings of gender perception of a transmasculine speaker are not highly influenced by varying listener age and gender minority status.

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