Voice therapy, also known as speech therapy or voice training, encompasses a myriad of techniques employed in the management of voice disorders or for improvement of the human voice for the purpose of singing or acting, or for achieving a specific gender intonation, as in the case of transgender people. It is provided by speech-language pathologists or voice coaches.
Differences between male and female voices
There are differences in male and female voice although considerable overlap exists between male and female vocal characteristics.
- Voice feminization
Voice feminization is the desired outcome of surgical techniques, speech therapy, self-help programs and a general litany of other techniques to acquire a female-sounding voice from a perceived male sounding voice.
- Voice masculinization
This is the opposite of voice feminization, being the change of a voice from feminine to masculine.
- Respiration - power source
- Phonation - sound source
- Resonance - sound modifier
- Articulation - speech modifier
- Prosody - melodic aspects of speech
While hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery can cause a more feminine outward appearance, they do little to alter the pitch or sound of the voice. The existing vocal structure can be surgically altered using procedures that include
- Cricothyroid approximation (CTA) (is the most common)
- Thyrohyoid approximation
- Laryngeal reduction surgery (surgical shortening of the vocal cords)
- Laser assisted voice adjustment (LAVA)
- Vocal pedagogy for singing, particularly opera
- Dialect training for actors who need to speak in a particular dialect or accent
While many trans women wish to sing like cisgender women, it will require a lot of training for one to achieve a feminine-sounding voice. This is why most prepubescent males who begin hormone replacement therapy have a higher chance of retaining this quality. See castrato for more information.
Voice therapy in transgender individuals
Non-surgical techniques undertaken by transsexual women as a part of gender transition to make their voices sound female.
Professions that practice voice training include: