What does Transgender mean?
01Transgender refers to an individual’s gender identity not corresponding to their assigned sex. Many transgender individuals ‘transition’ in order to express their true gender identity. During this time, transgender voice therapy may be undertaken, in order for an individual to create their desired voice and thus, match this gender cue to their identity.
What isHormone Replacement Therapy and what impactdoes it have on voice?
02Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) refers to the hormones given for both male–to-female and female-to-male transgender individuals, in order to match one’s gender identity with their external appearance. The main hormones administered include androgens for males and estrogen for females. For male-to-female individuals, estrogen does not impact upon the voice, as a result of changing vocal structures during puberty that are unable to be reversed. As a result of this, many choose to undertake voice feminization therapy to achieve a female voice.For female-to-male individuals, androgens cause a deepening of the voice.
How does Voice Masculinization work?
03Voice masculinization is the change to a male voice from female voice and generally occurs as a result of androgens, as noted above. Many transmen do not require voice masculinization therapy as a result of this; however, androgens may not lower pitch to the same level as other males. Those dissatisfied with their voice may choose to look at other communication characteristics for greater ability to pass. Furthermore, many transmen report experiencing ‘vocal fatigue’ when taking hormones.Vocal Key Speech Pathology also offers transgender voice therapy for transmen looking to work on male communication components, increase vocal stamina and maintain vocal hygiene.
What are the average Vocal Ranges?
04Generally, the average female speaking range lies between 180-280Hz, with an average speaking pitch of 220Hz. An ambiguous range occurs between approximately 160-180Hz, while the male range is between 80-160Hz.
What about Voice Feminization Surgery?
05There are currently transgender voice surgery options involving direct alterations to the vocal folds. Such voice feminization surgery procedures include cricothyroid approximation (CTA), layngoplasty, thyrohyoid approximation, laser assisted voice adjustment (LAVA) and laryngeal reduction surgery (surgically shortening the vocal folds).Currently, the limited evidence base, limited efficacy of such procedures and potential risks involved lead to conclusions of these techniques to be inadvisable at this time when compared to voice therapy.Such risks may include a complete loss of voice, a rough vocal quality, formation of vocal fold pathologies, vocal fold irritation, infection and swelling, failure to raise vocal pitch, loss in vocal range, loss of volume and impaired breathing.For those wishing to undertake voice feminization surgery it is advisable that transgender voice therapy is undertaken pre and post surgery, for vocal strength, voice care and resonance work.Additional information on current research, news articles and generalised voice care can be found in our transgender support section.