Forces Affecting Voice Function in Gender Diverse People Assigned Female at Birth Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES:The purpose of this study was to explore the factors and practices that have acted as facilitators or barriers to voice function in gender diverse people assigned female at birth (GD peopleAFAB) from a participant-centered perspective and to inform the role of speech-language pathologists in supporting GD peopleAFAB with developing and maintaining functional voice production. METHODS:Transcripts of semistructured interviews with 14 German-speaking GD peopleAFAB were analyzed for the study objectives using a consensual approach to qualitative content analysis. The interviews and their interpretation were conceptualized as co-constructions of participants and researchers who were regarded as experts in their own right. RESULTS:Professional practices (testosterone treatment, professional voice support), speaker practices (self-care and voice use practices, self-evaluation of voice function), conversation partner practices, and supraindividual biocultural forces (vocal demands, normative practices, other biocultural forces) were identified as having influenced the participants' voice function. Professional voice support, a range of phonation practices, and general self- and voice care practices were frequently cited facilitators of functional voice production. The most frequent barriers to voice function included testosterone treatment, slouched posture, excess muscle tension, forceful voice use, and avoidance practices. CONCLUSIONS:Voice function in GD peopleAFAB is influenced by interactions of several forces, most of which may be shared by voice users of all genders. Professional practices should follow a person-centered approach to care in which all parties are well informed of the limitations and possibilities for any intervention, including the often-unquestioned contribution of testosterone treatment.

publication date

  • 2020