Take a moment to think about your voice. It’s one of the first things people hear when you are on the phone, it’s the way you communicate your thoughts and emotions, and it’s a way that we establish our identify with others.
With just a simple “hello” we are revealing information about ourselves to the world through the use of our voice. For individuals in the transgender community, a voice that doesn’t correspond with the individual’s gender expression and identity, leading to mis-gendering, can be distressing.
We are fortunate here in San Francisco to be surrounded by a community that has strong awareness of transgender rights and offers support. Sound Speech and Hearing Clinic is proud to be a part of that community, offering voice therapy services for the assessment and treatment of voice, voice modification, and communication skills. “Working with the transgender community is one of my favorite populations to work with,” states speech language therapist Jody Vaynshtok, “Helping to create a voice that reflects an individual’s identity to the outside world is an amazing journey to be a part of, and inspiring to watch as the individual gains confidence.”
Sound clinicians work with individuals in the transgender community to assess their current vocal use, establish their goals, and create customized plans to meet those goals. Elements of the transgender voice program include:
Resonance: The quality and placement of voice.
Intonation/prosody: The rhythm and patterns that voice has during speech.
Language: Choice of words.
Nonverbal communication: This includes facial expressions, body language, and actions including laughing or coughing.
Pitch: Creating a pitch range (how high/low the voice sounds) that is aligned with the individual’s gender identity.
Rate and volume: The speed and loudness levels at which an individual communicates.
Sound also assists individuals in applying for insurance coverage for voice therapy.