A new concept of puberphonia treatment Part II
Dr.M.Kumaresan MS(ENT), DLO. & Dr.K.Navin Bharath MS(ENT)
Chapter 1. Puberphonia (non-mature voice)
The non-matured voice in males during puberty is called puberphonia. Puberphonia is also known as mutational falsetto, functional falsetto, incomplete mutation, adolescent falsetto, pubescent falsetto, juvenile voice, and childish voice. There are many myths and misconceptions about puberphonia. One percent of the population is born with a predisposition to speak in a different way; one such issue is puberphonia, or boys speaking in a female tone. This topic is important to the prospective public and health care workers because it is a specific, relevant, common condition with an unknown etiology. It's a great way to make awareness and treatment available. It offers readers a chance to try out our new non-invasive, outpatient treatment methods for an easily recognized, common, unattended ENT problem. The study concluded that other problems of puberphonia include depression, loneliness, cowardice, low self-esteem, an inferiority complex, and thoughts of suicide, which would be the take home message from our long experience of 29 years in treating puberphonia.
Chapter 2. Voiced sound and unvoiced sound
The soft palate is made up of a series of muscles that allow it to press down, as part of swallowing, and to rise up, creating space for yawns and bright open sounds. These muscles, especially the tensor palati, can also clear the Eustachian, or auditory, tubes, creating the ear popping familiar on plane rides.
The tensor and levator palati form a "sling," lifting the soft palate up and backward, closing off the entrance to the nasal cavities above by coming into contact with the pharyngeal wall. This is essential to articulating the difference between a vowel sound, where the voiced sound flows through the oral cavity, and a nasal vowel and consonant, where the voiced sound flows through the nasal cavity. This often happens so quickly on sounds like "on, on, on" or "no, no" that we cannot feel the action of the soft palate.
The remaining muscles tend to close off the opening to the oropharynx. It is useful to learn to feel their action so that you can then relax the muscle. The levator and tensor palati muscles may also stretch the muscles long and wide. The palatoglossus is connected to the tongue, while the palatopharyngeus is connected to the pharynx. The former can depress the palate or raise the back of the tongue. The latter forms a sandwich above and below the levator palati. Essential in swallowing and gagging, the palatopharyngeus can also raise the larynx. Relaxing it for spoken or sung communication is essential.
Chapter 3: What Are R1, R2, and R3 and How Do They Affect Your Voice Sound?
What is R1?
Within the vocal mechanism, there are different areas where the voice will resonate, or ‘vibrate.’ The term R1 refers to the resonance area containing the laryngeal space (located inside your neck where your voice box is) and the pharyngeal space (located in the back of the throat). R1 is often called the primary gender control knob, and it will be the most decisive factor in the feminization of the voice.
Where the voice resonates will determine what type of tone and range it will have. The word ‘tone’ describes the color of the voice: bright, dark, warm, round, rich- these are all words that describe tone. The word ‘range’ describes how high or low the voice will sound.
R1 will have a significant effect on the tone and range of the voice because it controls the amount of bass. Testosterone in the body will enlarge the pharyngeal and laryngeal areas, causing R1 to drop. This position for R1 will add bass- creating the low range and rich tonal quality associated with the male voice. By contrast, a high position for R1 will minimize the amount of bass, producing a voice that is perceived as female. The most difficult aspect of feminising the voice is learning to create and maintain a high R1.In fact, 70-80% of the work will be targeted here.
With specific vocal exercises, it is possible to train the body to narrow the pharyngeal/laryngeal areas, counteracting the effects of testosterone. This allows R1 to move to a higher position, producing the tone and range of the female voice.
R1 can be complex. If you want to learn more, schedule a consultation here.
What is R2?
Within the vocal mechanism, there are different areas where the voice will resonate, or "vibrate." In our previous article, we discussed R1. The second resonance area, R2, is the oral cavity — or in simpler terms, the mouth. It is the secondary gender control knob in trans voice.
While R2 is an important factor in vocal style and vowel control, it is less vital to vocal feminization than R1. However, out of all the vocal resonance areas, R2 can create the widest range of possible frequencies (low – high sounding pitch). This means that R2 can produce a wide range of sounds, making it an important area to understand in mtf and ftm trans voice training.
R2 is primarily controlled by the position of the tongue—more specifically, it is controlled by the position of the tongue apex (tip of the tongue) and the tongue body (center of the tongue). As the tongue moves during speech and singing, it will either increase or decrease space inside the mouth. When the tongue is bunched up or lifted close to the roof of the mouth, the space inside the mouth becomes smaller. When the tongue lies flat against the floor of the mouth, the space becomes larger.
Through vocal exercises, the tongue can be trained to sustain specific positions, thereby creating whatever frequencies are desired. These frequencies will contribute to the perceived gender of the voice. This training will also increase control, clarity of pronunciation, and personal style.
Need help getting a handle on R2? Schedule a consultation with us here.
What is R3?
We discussed how resonance in R1 and R2 affects trans voice training in previous articles.In this article, we will discuss R3, the third resonance chamber in the vocal tract.
R3 is primarily controlled in the area between the tongue apex (tip of the tongue) and the teeth and lips. While this resonance chamber will usually produce sounds in the high end of the frequency spectrum, it can drop much lower when the tongue is in retroflexion. Retroflection is when the tongue apex is lifted and bent backwards. This happens during the creation of certain consonants, such as "r."
Precise treatment of consonants in R3 can create a powerful resonance that is used in overtone singing— a rare type of performance where a vocalist sings multiple pitches at the same time. However, for most trans singers, R3 will be an area of fine-tuning. Since the placement of the tongue apex can affect the entire tongue position, R3 can have a domino effect on R2 and R1. Proper use of the tongue apex and lips will allow a singer to access laser sharp resonance, more precise tuning, and clear pronunciation. For this reason, R3 is vital to gaining full vocal expression, and is an important area of study in trans voice training.
Chapter 4. Muscle memory.
Our treatment gives permanent, everlasting relief from puberphonia. We create muscle memory. Muscle memory is a neurological process that allows you to remember certain motor skills and perform them without conscious effort. We’ll help you build vocal awareness and teach you how to apply what you’ve learned, so you can keep your voice controlled and consistent.
Chapter 5. Singing time moves the hand to move the diaphragm.
With abdominal breathing and the raising of the hand, air travels along the movement of the hand. This is similar to muscle memory. This is called cross training. Cross training is key. You don’t need to go to the gym to do some squats to support your skiing posture. You can practise jumping rope to support getting yourself off the ground with a rebound or jump shot. Even if you can’t dive in the pool to practise your strokes, you can do some dips, rows, or butterfly presses to support your training.