Transgender Voice Modification Therapy

| Dec 25, 2017

Transgender voice therapy training is used to improve or modify your voice to match your true gender identity and to sound more like a CIS gendered female. Speaking in your true gender decreases your “readability” and reduces being clocked. Vocal feminization occurs when the voice is modified from a perceived male vocal quality to a perceived female vocal quality. Voice feminization is used to describe the outcome of such speech and voice therapy. Female hormone therapy does not change the sound of your voice. Male hormone therapy (testosterone) will deepen and masculinize your voice. The specially trained professional speech pathologist (SLP) will work on the following techniques so that you may practice and feminize your voice: pitch, resonance, intonation, articulation, vocal intensity, rate, establishing diaphragmatic breathing, verbal and non-verbal communication. Other areas that the speech pathologist will work on are automatic responses such as feminine coughing, laughing and clearing one’s throat. Such bodily functions can out a person if they are perceived to be in the masculine range of pitch and resonance.

Some individuals elect to have vocal surgery on their vocal cords (vocal folds). However, this type of surgery may not alter one’s voice to sound more female. Surgery is performed on the vocal folds by shortening them, making them thinner and/or by increasing the tension of the vocal folds. Usually voice therapy with a speech pathologist is recommended by the surgeon to establish a more feminine vocal quality. There have been mixed reviews concerning the results of vocal surgery which includes, reduced voice quality, decreased loudness, swallowing difficulties of food and liquids, breathing difficulties, sore throat, infections and scarring. One must weigh the risks vs. the benefits of such surgery.

Speech therapy for the transfeminine individual would center on raising the pitch through therapeutic exercises. The SLP would record the starting pitch at session one and then work on raising the pitch to one where it does not put a strain on the vocal folds. Therapy progresses and the pitch is gradually raised from producing a vowel sound to speaking in structured spontaneous conversation in your true gender. To achieve a higher pitch, the SLP may work on pitch glides, head resonance vs. chest resonance, and producing speech and soft to loud speech range exercises. Training is given on establishing a feminine vocal resonance. Resonance is deeper in cismen due to the vocal tract being 10-25% larger than ciswomen. The SLP will teach transfeminine individuals how to modify the length and area of the vocal anatomy which results in a change of resonance and pitch. CIS women tend to modify their resonance by protruding and spreading their lips into a ‘Mona Lisa’ smile when talking.

Readability is also influenced by how one presents as transfemale. Non-verbal communication affects readability. Non-verbal cues are: posture, gesture, walking, and facial expressions. Women smile more, use facial expressions and head to side movements and use more hand gestures than men when communicating.

Transgender voice modification therapy is the more acceptable avenue when trying to modify one’s voice to match their true gender identity. For more information on transgender voice modification therapy in your area or to schedule an appointment for in person or tele-practice voice modification therapy by telephone, please contact: [email protected] or call: 954-778-8876.

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Category: Body & Soul, How To

About the Author ()

Marc Mitnick, MS, CCC-SLP, Board certified and licensed Speech, Language and Voice Pathologist, Director, Your Speech Therapist, Inc.

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