What You Should Know About Gender Affirming Voice Therapy
Our voice is an important aspect of who we are. It’s like our thumbprint – a personal, unique representation that can only be linked to us. But for some people, their voice doesn’t feel like a match. They may feel that their voice or communication style needs to be changed in some way, perhaps so it’s more aligned to their gender.
This is where Speech Pathologists come in! We can provide Gender Affirming Voice Therapy to support people in their pursuit of a voice that is aligned with who they really are. Keep on reading to learn more about what is involved in Gender Affirming Voice Therapy.
What is Gender Affirming Voice Therapy?
Gender Affirming Voice Therapy is a type of Speech Therapy most often provided to people in the process of transitioning genders. This may coincide with Gender Affirming surgery and/or hormone treatments, which in of themselves may cause changes to a person’s voice.
What is Involved in Gender Affirming Voice Therapy?
Seeking out the support of a Speech Pathologist for Gender Affirming Voice Therapy can be daunting – but it doesn’t need to be! As professional, person-centred clinicians we’re able to provide a thorough assessment to establish the current state of a person’s voice as well as the goals for what they may like their voice to become.
Speech Pathologists work with their clients to provide Gender Affirming Voice Therapy in a way that is respectful and aligned to an individual’s goals and preferences while maintaining vocal health along the way. A treatment plan will be developed after an initial assessment, and targeted Speech Therapy will be delivered regularly to help create the desired changes in the client’s voice.
The different elements of voice that may be a focus in Gender Affirming Voice Therapy include:
- Pitch (how high or low a voice sounds)
- Intonation (how the voice rises and falls while speaking)
- Resonance (the quality of the sound of the voice)
- Rhythm (the flow of speech)
- Rate (how fast or slowly you speak)
How Long Does Gender Affirming Voice Therapy Take?
Changing the way your voice sounds can be a longer process than many may expect. The time required to achieve voice therapy goals depend on many factors, including the impacts of hormonal or surgical interventions, the techniques used in therapy, the frequency of voice therapy, completion of follow up activities at home, and the level of change desired by the client.
Some people have also reported finding it difficult to maintain a ‘new voice’ around loved ones or people who knew them well before their transition.
At the end of the day, no matter the length of time required, Gender Affirming Voice Therapy is worth it when you’re able to find a voice that matches your gender identity and feels authentic to you.
If you’d like to explore Gender Affirming Voice Therapy for yourself or a loved one, reach out to your GP for a referral to a local Speech Pathologist or take a look at the Speech Pathology Australia register.
*This information is general in nature.