31 March, 2021
What is the voice feminization and how is it achieved?
Voice feminization encompasses all the needed processes in order to obtain a voice with characteristics attributable to that of a woman. The processes are applied during the sexual reassignment. Voice feminization is obtained through surgical procedures and speech therapy with the help of a team of otolaryngologists and speech therapists. The voice in the transgender woman is essential to connect coherently the external appearance with her personality.
How do we feminize a man’s voice?
We are all able to identify a male or female voice without seeing the person. This is due to the qualities of the voice itself. The female voice has several specific qualities in terms of sharpness, pitch, modulation, intensity, gestures and even vocabulary that make us quickly assign it to female gender. For this reason, it is essential to work on all aspects in a coordinated way with the help of an expert team. The otolaryngologist, through surgery, mainly achieves an increase in vocal pitch and the speech therapist works with the patient on the rest of the features to achieve the objective.
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What is the process of voice feminization?
The process of vocal feminization consists of 5 different stages:
- Vocal examination: First of all, the vocal feminization process starts with some explorations, carried out to obtain a complete analysis of the voice.
- Preoperative speech therapy: in repeated sessions that seek to modify respiratory patterns, intonation, articulation and voice inflection. It also seeks to feminize spontaneous emissions such as laughter, crutches or coughing.
- Surgery and recent postoperative period: There are several techniques described to feminize the voice. In the ENT Service, We currently feminize the voice by means of two techniques that look to increase pitch (fundamental frequency). One is Wendler’s glottoplasty and the other is known by its acronym LAVA (Laser-Assisted Voice Adjustment). Once the surgery is performed, the patient must keep absolute vocal rest (no talking or whispering) for the first 10 days for optimal healing.
- Postoperative speech therapy: it reinforces the results obtained so far, helps in the adaptation and recognition of the new voice, and helps in the recovery of the physiology of the vocal cords.
- Follow-up: changes obtained are recorded periodically.
“In the ENT Service, we currently feminize the voice by means of two surgical techniques: Wendler’s glottoplasty and LAVA (Laser-Assisted Voice Adjustment)“
Dr. Eduardo Lehrer