Acoustic Features of Transfeminine Voices and Perceptions of Voice Femininity
Date of Original Version
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationships between acoustic measures of transfeminine voices and both self- and listener ratings of voice femininity. Connected speech samples were collected from 12 transfeminine individuals (M = 36.3 years, SD = 10.6 years) and a control group of five cisgender (cis) women and five cis men (M = 35.3 years, SD = 13.3 years). The acoustic measures of fundamental frequency (fo), fo variation, formant frequencies, and vocal intensity were calculated from these samples. Transfeminine speakers rated their own voices on a five-point scale of voice femininity. Twenty inexperienced listeners heard an excerpt of each speech sample and rated the voices on the same five-point scale of voice femininity. Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficients were calculated to measure the relationships between the acoustic variables and ratings of voice femininity. Significant positive correlations were found between fo and both self-ratings (r = 0.712, P = 0.009) and listener ratings of voice femininity (r = 0.513, P < 0.001). Significant positive correlations were found between intensity and both self-ratings (r = 0.584, P = 0.046) and listener ratings of voice femininity (r = 0.584, P = 0.046). No significant correlations were found between fo variation or formant frequencies and perceptual ratings of voice femininity. A Pearson's chi-square test of independence showed that the distribution of self- and listener ratings differed significantly (χ2 = 9.668, P = 0.046). Self- and listener ratings were also shown to be strongly correlated (r = 0.912, P < 0.001). This study provides further evidence to support the selection of training targets in voice feminization programs for transfeminine individuals and promotes the use of self-ratings of voice as an important outcome measure.
Journal of Voice
Dahl, Kimberly L., and Leslie A. Mahler. "Acoustic Features of Transfeminine Voices and Perceptions of Voice Femininity." Journal of Voice 34, 6 (2020): 961.e19-961.e26. doi:10.1016/j.jvoice.2019.05.012.