4 Common Questions (and Answers) About Voice Dysphoria and Gender-Affirming Voice Therapy

4 Common Questions (and Answers) About Voice Dysphoria and Gender-Affirming Voice Therapy

How you communicate is an important part of life. If you feel like your voice doesn’t match your gender identity or gender expression, it can lead to feelings of dysphoria or a general state of being unwell. Gender-affirming voice care can help. Below, we outline four common questions that our Gender Care Clinic patients have for their doctors.

1. Can I change my voice?

Yes. The Nebraska Medicine Gender Care Clinic offers several services to help people develop more gender-specific voice and communication styles. These services include:

  • Gender-affirming voice training – This type of non-surgical procedure can help alter the gendered aspects of a person’s voice, ideally helping to achieve maximum flexibility
  • Laryngology – A laryngologist, also known as an otolaryngologist or ENT, offers interdisciplinary assessment and interventional voice services designed to meet the individual needs of someone in transition.
  • Speech therapy – A speech therapist who specializes in gender-affirming voice and communication training can help individuals find their voice by addressing factors such as tone and style of communication
  • Surgery – Performed to change pitch, surgery is used as a last resort as it causes scar tissue on the vocal cords

Before undergoing any gender affirmation service, you must be evaluated by an ENT doctor to assess any voice disorders that need to be treated.

The ENT doctor will check:

  • Pitch – How pitch or serious your voice is, measured in hertz (Hz)
  • Intensity – The level of your voice, measured in decibels (dB)
  • Resonance – How your sound waves reverberate through your head/neck (this is not quantifiable sound, and it can be subjectively described as brightness in voice)

Based on your goals and your current voice flexibility, our team will work with you to identify the best course of action. After your assessment, the ENT doctor can refer you to a voice care specialist.

2. What type of doctor should I see for gender-affirming voice care?

ENT experts, also called otolaryngologists, and speech therapists can help you.

The following specialists provide gender-affirming voice care through our Gender Care Clinic:

  • Christopher Bingcang, MD – Dr. Bingcang is board certified in otolaryngology and has completed additional training in laryngology and professional voice
  • Jayme Dowdall, MD – Dr. Dowdall is board certified in otolaryngology with additional training in laryngology and professional voice
  • Amber Koch, MS, CCC-SLP – As a certified speech-language pathologist specializing in voice and upper respiratory disorders, Koch provides gender affirmation voice services at Lauritzen Outpatient Center and Village Pointe Health Center

We know seeing a new health care provider can be stressful for anyone, but this burden is felt especially by the LGBTQA+ community. You may have concerns about discrimination or misunderstanding. You don’t have to worry about that when you see a Nebraska Medicine health care provider. The experts who support our Gender Care Clinic work with LGBTQA+ people every day. And Nebraska Medicine is named a 2022 Leader for Health Care Equality by the Human Rights Campaign. We are committed to providing affirming healthcare and continually working to remain a home of healthcare for all.

3. Are gender-affirming voice services covered by health insurance?

Although gender affirmation services are increasingly recognized as medical necessities, insurance coverage often differs between providers. The short answer is to check with your insurance provider to see what they will cover.

4. Do I need a referral for gender-affirming voice services?

Anyone can refer to the Gender Care Clinic, but most insurance companies require a referral from a health care provider.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 800.922.0000.

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