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Behavioral Treatment Approaches to Lowering Pitch in the Female Voice

Published:September 10, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.08.008

      Summary

      Purpose

      To assess the outcomes of three voice therapy treatment approaches with an emphasis on lowering speaking pitch. Transmasculine and cisgender individuals may desire to lower their speaking pitch, yet there has not been a method described in the literature to do this effectively using only behavioral techniques.

      Method

      To investigate these approaches, we enrolled 32 adult cisgender females and randomly assigned them to one of four treatment groups: vocal function exercises (VFE), resonant voice therapy (RVT), lip-rounding therapy (LRT), and a control group. Participants received individual instruction and feedback on the given exercise program, and they continued to practice daily for 4 weeks.

      Results

      Acoustic recordings were collected before treatment, immediately after the first session, and after 4 weeks of treatment. Results showed a lower minimum pitch in the physiological range, lower speaking fundamental frequency (SFF) in reading, and lower SFF in spontaneous speech—with treatment groups performing better than the control group. Additionally, participants’ self-rating of the vocal effort expended to speak in a low pitch decreased over the treatment period.

      Conclusions

      Each treatment approach (VFE, RVT, and LRT) was successful in lowering the speaking pitch of cisgender females. These methods would likely be useful for clients seeking to speak in a lower pitch. Future research may expand results to include clinical populations, such as transmasculine individuals.

      Key Words

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