Voice feminization: discover everything you need to know
How many times have you recognised someone just by listening to them speak?
The way we express ourselves says a lot about ourselves and our personality, hence the importance of identifying with your tone of voice.
If you have already started your transition, you will have noticed that oestrogen hormone therapy has virtually no effect on voice quality.
And here’s the reality: voice represents a fundamental trait that comes to influence your social, professional and personal life, so here comes the question:
Do you think your voice reflects your true personality?
If the answer is no, in this post we are going to take you through the process of voice feminization and find out if it is what you need.
What is the surgical technique used to feminise the voice?
There are many surgical techniques for this procedure. We will look at them below, but they are all based on three main principles:
- Increasing vocal cord tension
- Altering the consistency of the vocal cords
- Lowering the mass of the vocal cords
Types of interventions throughout history to achieve voice feminization. Advantages and disadvantages.
Cricothyroid approach. Thyroid Chondroplasty
This was the most extensive intervention since 1983.
Through cervical incisions, the cartilages are brought closer together and the tension of the vocal cords is increased, resulting in a high vocal pitch due to the contraction of the cricothyroid muscle.
But there are also three drawbacks to this surgery:
- Because of the type of procedure performed, the thyroid cartilage tends to be more prominent, reflecting a characteristic of the male sex.
- As it requires a cervical incision, the aesthetic result is not very good.
- Long-term results are inconsistent and contradictory. In the short term it does work but 6-8 months after the intervention the vocal tone starts to drop again.
Anterior commissure advancement This technique was developed in 1983 by Lejeune, and its procedure consists of advancing the anterior commissure by placing a splint in the thyroid cartilage.
Currently, this technique is rarely used due to the uncertain results obtained.
Laser cordotomy This technique was developed in 1983 by Lejeune, and its procedure consists of advancing the anterior commissure by placing a splint in the thyroid cartilage.
Currently, this surgical procedure is rarely performed due to the uncertain outcome.
This is one of the most complex techniques available.
It is performed by means of a cervical incision, the aim of which is to reduce the vocal tract and improve female resonance.
From our point of view we think that this intervention is too aggressive, since the segment of the thyroid ala, the vocal cord and the ventricular band are resected.
This completes the operation with a new anterior commissure and a cricothyroid approach.
Marbel Clinic Method.
Learn from Dr. Juan Carlos Casado the four steps that make up our method to feminise the voice.
The most important factor in determining the perception of the female voice is the fundamental frequency spoken, although other aspects of language such as intonation, vocal resonance and modulation also play a role.
By this we mean that in order to achieve a more feminine voice, it is necessary to act not only on vocal frequency or pitch, but also on vocal behaviour.
Learn about the four stages of the Marbel Clinic Method that will make a before and after in your life.
- Stage 1: Vocal examination
The first step in this process always begins with a consultation to analyse the anatomy of your larynx. This consists of carrying out several scans and making a recording of you reading a phonetically balanced text. In this way we will have a complete initial study of your voice.
- Stage 2: Surgery
We perform an endoscopic approach with vocal suture. This consists of shortening and anterior displacement of the commissure using vocal suture. As it is performed endoscopically, it does not require any incision in the neck, which is important from an aesthetic point of view.
- Stage 3: Speech therapy.
Our method consists of combining surgery and post-operative speech therapy. Once the obligatory vocal rest after surgery has been carried out, the speech therapy sessions will begin, where singing exercises will be carried out to modify the vocal gesture and to maintain the new voice naturally.
- Stage 4: Post-operative check-ups.
After complete vocal rest, four check-ups will be performed: a laryngoscopy at one month, an acoustic analysis, laryngoscopy and acoustic analysis at three months; and finally, an acoustic analysis and a recording of the spoken voice at nine months.
Exclusive Logopedia for voice feminization – why isn’t this the best method?
We see it in the clinic every day: transgender women who have had speech therapy sessions where they have learned to alter their vocal pitch and, due to fatigue or reactions such as laughing, coughing, sneezing or screaming, have suddenly reverted to their original pitch, feeling embarrassed and frustrated.
And this is why speech therapy alone does not work, nor is there consensus on the type, duration and effectiveness of treatment.
Don’t you think that after all the transition process you have gone through, it would make sense for your voice to have a naturally high vocal pitch without having to force it or imitate it all the time?
Our speech therapist Soledad Angulo tells you how post-surgery speech therapy sessions work.
Do you want to know what women who have undergone a voice feminization process at Marbel Clinic think about it?
If you are determined to begin the process of voice feminization, at Marbel Clinic we will be happy to accompany you.