What is speech therapy?
Professional training in changing the quality of your voice.
What does speech therapy do?
Raises or lowers pitch and changes sound
How long does speech therapy last?
Working on your voice normally takes a significant amount of practice, and may take practice over many months to achieve a dramatic change. The lessons learned in speech therapy may allow you to make a life-long change to your voice.
Why might I want speech therapy?
Speech and language therapy can be used by people wanting to change the quality of their voice, raise the pitch of their voice, or lower their average pitch. A trained speech therapist helps you discover what you would like your voice to sound like and helps you achieve those goals.
Are there other options?
Many people make changes to their voice on their own without help from a speech therapist. You can find more information about doing this on your own on our page about working on your voice.
To lower your voice, you can practice using the bottom part of your existing vocal range more frequently (to lower your average pitch), and speech therapy can help with this. However, it is not normally possible to increase your vocal range to be able to reach lower pitches than you can already. To do this, people normally use testosterone instead. The effects of testosterone on voice are permanent, and will only affect certain aspects of your voice. To change other aspects of voice that are normally associated with gender, like inflection or speech rhythm, you might still wish to work with a speech therapist.
To raise your voice, it is possible to learn to reach higher pitches with practice, possibly with the help of speech therapy. Oestrogen has no effect on the voice.
A minority of people are unable to reach their goals through speech and language therapy or testosterone treatment and undergo surgical interventions to change their voice.
How do I get speech therapy?
Many UK gender services offer speech therapy after they have given a diagnosis.
In some parts of the UK, it is also possible to access therapy without having been referred to a gender service or having been given a diagnosis by them. To do this, you will need to be seen by your local Speech and Language Therapy team. Depending on the area, you may need to ask your GP for a referral, though some services will allow people to self-refer.
Speech therapy may be one-on-one, or in a group therapy setting.
You can search for speech therapists from across the UK who have a speciality in helping transgender people on the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice website.
Private speech and language therapists in the UK who advertise specific experience around gender on their websites include:
- Matthew Mills (London)
- Christella Antoni and others (London)
- Nicola Gorb (London and Hertfordshire)
- Heidi de Quincey (Hampshire)
- Celia Bacon (Hampshire and via Skype)
- Sue Addlestone (North West)
- Susannah Thomson (Bristol)
- Barbara Molteno (Derbyshire)
- Kathryn Head (Wales)
- Nazlin Kurji-Smith (Newcastle)
Some voice coaches also advertise specific experience around gender:
How much will it cost?
Speech and language therapy is often provided free of charge by UK gender identity clinics, with several clinics having their own in-house speech and language therapists.
If you're receiving certain benefits, or are on a low income, you may be able to get help with the cost of travel for NHS treatment. Further information about help with travel costs can be found:
- on the NHS website
- on the Welsh Government website
- on the NHS Scotland website
- on the Northern Ireland government website
The LGBT Foundation in Manchester also run free introductory workshops for people who identify as trans.
Private speech therapists can charge a variety of different rates, from as low as £50/hour up to over £150/hour. When searching for a speech therapist, you should check they are registered with HCPC UK by checking on their website. Checking they are an HCPC member helps make sure that your therapist is properly trained.
Errors and omissions
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