Voice function and voice disorders

The area includes research about the voice in patients with different types of voice disorders as well as in transgender people with gender dysphoria.


Project group leader

Maria Södersten

Several projects are focused on development of methods to better document and quantify different aspects of voice function, and to improve clinical voice treatment. Methods for assessing voice function include audio perceptual, acoustic and aerodynamic analyses of recordings made in a standardized recording environment, as well as of long-term measurements of voice usage recorded with a portable voice accumulator equipment in natural environments.

Development of questionnaires and patient-reported measures are adapted for different patient groups. The methods are crucial in order to evaluate various treatment interventions such as voice therapy, surgical procedures on the vocal folds, and hormone therapy.

Members of the project group

Members of the project group
Namn Titel Funktion
Maria Södersten Adjunct professor, SLP* Project group leader
Svante Granqvist Senior lecturer, engineer Researcher, supervisor
Ellika Schalling Associate professor, SLP* Researcher, supervisor
Ulrika Nygren PhD, SLP * Researcher, supervisor
Anita McAllister Associate professor, SLP* Researcher
Anders Sand PhD, Master in Psychology Postdoc
Victoria Kelly SLP* Master student
Anna Lundblad SLP* Master student
*SLP=Speech Language Pathologist

In collaboration with

In collaboration with
Name Title Function

Anova, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Cecilia Dhejne PhD, psychiatrist Researcher

La Trobe University Melbourne, Australia

Jennifer Oates Professor, SLP Researcher
Georgia Dacakis PhD, SLP Researcher
Sterling Quinn SLP Project coordinator

Monash Center Gender Clinic, Hampton East Victoria, Australia

Jaco Erasmus FRANZCP, Psychiatrist Researcher

La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia

David Azul PhD, SLP Researcher

The George Washington University, USA

Adrienne Hancock PhD, SLP Researcher

Division of Ear, Nose and Throat diseases, Karolinska Institutet

Stellan Hertegård Adjunct professor, phonatrician Researcher

Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Sten Ternström Professor, engineer Researcher, supervisor

Åbo Academy, Finland

Greta Wistbacka PhD, SLP Researcher

Umeå University, Sweden

Jenny Holmberg SLP Doctoral student
Fredrik Karlsson Associate professor, phonetician Supervisor
Ida Linander PhD, MD Supervisor

Research projects

  • Effectiveness of voice therapy for transgender women - a prospective study. An international collaborative research project (Maria Södersten, Ulrika Nygren, Svante Granqvist, Cecilia Dhejne, Anders Sand, Jennifer Oates, Georgia Dacakis, Jaco Erasmus, Sterling Quinn).
  • Development, validation and reliability tests of a new voice questionnaire for people with gender incongruence assigned female at birth (Ulrika Nygren, David Azul, Adrienne Hancock).
  • Voice disorders and treatment effects in Parkinson's disease studied with a portable voice accumulator (Joakim Körner Gustafsson, Maria Södersten, Sten Ternström, Ellika Schalling).
  • How does it work? Voice Speech and Communication. Interviews of children and pre-school teachers about communication and the sound environment in pre-schools (Anita McAllister).
  • Studies of tube phonation in water, how its physical properties such as bubble frequency, pressure and flow affects the voice and registration of normal data used in voice therapy (Svante Granqvist, Greta Wistbacka).
  • Development of the computer programs RecVox for recording of phonetograms, Visor for perceptual voice evaluation and Sopran for recording, processing and analysis of sound files (Svante Granqvist).
  • Subglottal pressure measured with and without a carrier phrase and visual feed-back
  • Subglottal pressure and perceived vocal strain in persons with benign vocal fold lesions before and after intervention (Anna Lundblad, Svante Granqvist, Maria Södersten). 
  • Evaluation of gender confirming voice therapy in group for transwomen Evaluation after feminising voice therapy with self-ratings and a listening test (Victoria Kelly, Ulrika Nygren, Maria Södersten). 
  • The perception of femininity and masculinity in voices as perceived by transgender people with gender dysphoria (Jenny Holmberg, Maria Södersten, Ida Linander, Fredrik Karlsson).
  • Development of tutorials regarding technical equipment and procedures, to ensure a high quality of voice recordings in research and in the clinic (Svante Granqvist).

Selected publications

Azul D, Hancock A, Nygren U. Forces affecting voice function in gender diverse people assigned female at birth. Journal of Voice (Accepted for publication Jan 6th 2019).

Azul D, Nygren U, Södersten M, Neuschaefer-Rube, C (2017). Transmasculine People's Voice Function: A review of the currently available evidence. Journal of Voice 3(2):261.e9-261.e23. doi:10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.05.005.

Kelly V, Hertegård S, Eriksson J, Nygren U, Södersten M (2019). Effects of gender-confirming pitch-raising surgery in transgender women. A long-term follow-up study of acoustic and patient-reported data. Journal of Voice Sep;33(5):781-791. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Aug 1.

Körner Gustafsson J, Södersten M, Ternström S, Schalling J. Voice use in daily life studied with a portable voice accumulator in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and matched healthy controls. Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research, Nov 18;62(12):4324-4334. doi: 10.1044/2019_JSLHR-19-00037. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

Körner Gustafsson J, Ternström S, Södersten M, Schalling E (2019). Effect of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment on habitual voice use in Parkinson’s disease studied with a portable voice accumulator in a monozygotic twin patient-control pair. Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, Oct;44(3):124-133. doi: 10.1080/14015439.2018.1435718. Epub 2018 Feb 15.

McAllister A, Rantala L, Jóhnsdóttir V (2019). The others are too loud. Children’s experiences and ideas related to voice, noise and communication in Nordic preschools. Front. Psychol., 21 August 2019 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01954.

Nygren U, Södersten M, Thyen U, Köhler B, Nordenskjöld A, dsd-LIFE group (2019). Voice dissatisfaction in individuals with a disorder of sex development. Clinical Endocrinology Jul:91(1):219-227. doi: 10.1111/cen.14000..

Szabo Portela A, Granqvist S, Ternström S, Södersten M (2018). Vocal behavior in environmental noise: Comparisons between work and leisure conditions in women with work-related voice disorders and matched controls. Journal of Voice. Jan;32(1):126.e23-126.e38. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2017.04.010.

Švec, J.G., Granqvist, S (2018). Tutorial and guidelines on measurement of sound pressure level in voice and speech  Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61 (3), pp. 441-461.

Wistbacka G, Andrade PA, Simberg S, Hammarberg B, Södersten M, Švec JG, Granqvist S (2018). Resonance tube phonation in water—the effect of tube diameter and water depth on back pressure and bubble characteristics at different airflows.  Journal of Voice, 32 (1), pp. 126.e11-126.e22.

Content reviewer:
Åsa Catapano