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Investigation into the methods used by speech pathologists to help male-to-female transsexuals achieve optimal pitch

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Technique.
    1. Originators of the Technique(s)
  3. Evaluation of the technique's underpinnings.
  4. Efficacy/Effectiveness Data.
  5. Summary.

Voice issues for male-to-female transsexuals represent a notable challenge for both those undergoing gender reassignment surgery and the speech pathologists that help them to make this transition. A review of the scant literature that is available on voice therapy for transsexuals demonstrates that lessening pharyngeal tension to help achieve optimal pitch is the most widely used technique to assist individuals after gender reassignment surgery. Utilizing this as a basis for investigation, this research considers the methods used by speech pathologists to help male-to-female transsexuals achieve optimal pitch.
The Technique
Originators of the Technique(s)
The use of lessening pharyngeal tension to help achieve optimal pitch to help male-to-female transsexuals sound more feminine was first reported in the literature by Kalra (1976). In this investigation, the results of voice therapy given to a 17-year-old male that had undergone gender reassignment surgery to become a female are reported.

[...] When placed in this context, it becomes evident that research on the use of voice therapy for the transgender clients needs to be expanded if best practices for male-to-female transsexuals are to be delineated. At the present time, the disordered and incomplete state of the research on this topic makes it difficult for professionals to accurately discern the particular methods that should be used to improve outcomes for male-to- female transsexuals. In addition to conducting more research on this topic, it is evident that a broad synthesis of the information that is currently available is also warranted. [...]


[...] While the specific research that has been conducted on the techniques used by does not provide a comprehensive or definitive understanding of the specific therapies that are used to improve voice quality for transsexuals, an extensive search of programs offered by speech therapists who work with transsexual clients provides a more concise picture of the voice therapies that are available. For instance, Davies (2006) currently provides a comprehensive voice program for transsexuals living in Canada. Her program, which is called Changing Keys, is sponsored by the Transgender Health Program of British Columbia provides an evaluation for the client, a seven week course of speech and voice therapy, a home tutorial program and a follow-up program for reevaluation. [...]

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