UNCG Research

Hooper discusses transgender voice therapy on WBUR

Posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by UNCG Research.
Celia Hooper voice therapy

Repost from UNCG NOW

Celia Hooper, dean of the UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences and a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, was interviewed by Boston radio station WBUR for a segment on an app designed to help transgender people change their voices.

The EVA app guides transgender men and women through a series of breathing and pitch exercises designed to help them raise or lower the pitch of their voices.

Hooper explained that speech patterns can differ greatly for men and women. “Let’s say I wanted to be a typical older male,” she told WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. “I’d use short, clipped speech. ‘Yep, nope, just like that.’” Women tend to use more flowery speech, Hooper said, “saying things like, ‘Oh, it’s just fabulous. That’s just marvelous.’”

Hooper, who has taught speech language classes for transgender men and women for more than 30 years, used to have clients watch soap operas with the volume on, then again with the volume off, to take note of gender expression.

“…Soap operas are full of people who are either hyper-female or hyper-male, so you can get an idea of their behavior and then kind of reel it in because gender expression is on a continuum,” Hooper said.

The segment is also scheduled to air on the national NPR show Here & Now.