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The Surprising Benefits of Voice Training for Individuals with Joint Hypermobility

disability nonbinary voice voice feminization voice masculinization Dec 01, 2023
joint hypermobility and trans voice training

Hi there, I'm Renée, and I want to look into an intriguing question that came up during one of my recent live sessions as a gender-affirming voice teacher on TikTok. A student asked whether having joint hypermobility could impact their transgender voice training. It's a fascinating topic, and I'd love to share my insights on the matter.

So, does having hypermobility in the throat or larynx affect voice training? Absolutely. But here's the twist—it's not necessarily a hindrance; in fact, it can be beneficial. Let me break it down for you.

First off, training is generally good for people with hypermobility. Why? Because through consistent training, individuals with hypermobility tend to strengthen the muscles needed to support hyperlax joints. It's like hitting two birds with one stone—working on your voice and fortifying those muscles simultaneously.

I recently had a remarkable experience with someone who had dysphagia, a condition resulting from a stroke that makes swallowing difficult. This person shared that they used to choke up to 25 times a day. However, as we focused on exercises like larynx pull-ups (which target the swallowing muscles), they noticed a significant improvement. The choking episodes reduced to just a couple of times a day. It was an unexpected but beautiful outcome.

What struck me most was the transformative impact on their life. They described it as a game-changer. This revelation wasn't intentional; we weren't specifically working on addressing their dysphagia. We were solely focused on voice training. Yet, the exercises we employed happened to affect something they had struggled with since their stroke.

It's moments like these that highlight the interconnectedness of our body and how addressing one aspect, such as voice training, can inadvertently impact other areas. The coincidence of our efforts leading to such a positive change was both surprising and heartwarming.

The takeaway? If you're dealing with joint hypermobility, voice training might just be the solution you didn't know you needed. It goes beyond honing your vocal skills; it can provide support and improvements in unexpected areas.

As someone passionate about gender-affirming voice training, I've witnessed the power of these exercises in fostering not just a more authentic voice but also unexpected physical benefits. It's a holistic approach that extends beyond the vocal instrument, influencing various aspects of our well-being.

Now, let's address a common concern: Can voice training exacerbate hypermobility issues? While it's crucial to approach any training regimen with care, the key lies in proper guidance. Working with a knowledgeable voice teacher who understands the nuances of hypermobility can make all the difference.

Here are a few insights to consider:

  1. Customized Approach: Tailoring voice training exercises to accommodate individual needs is essential, especially for those with hypermobility. A one-size-fits-all approach may not be suitable, so having a teacher who can adapt exercises accordingly is crucial.

  2. Balanced Progression: Gradual and steady progression is key. Pushing too hard too soon can lead to strain or exacerbate hypermobility issues. A disability-informed voice teacher can guide you through a carefully designed program that ensures progress without compromising your well-being.

  3. Communication is Key: Open communication with your voice teacher is vital. If you experience discomfort or notice any adverse effects, sharing this information allows for adjustments to be made to your training plan. It's a collaborative effort to ensure your voice journey is both effective and safe.

In conclusion, having joint hypermobility doesn't have to be a roadblock in your transgender voice training journey.  As with any form of training, finding the right guidance and being attuned to your body's responses are crucial. Embrace the journey, celebrate the victories, and let your voice not only reflect your best self but also contribute to your overall well-being.

Hi, I'm Renée! (they/them)

I'm a queer, nonbinary, and disabled singer, songwriter and gender-affirming voice teacher. 

I've been a voice teacher for over twelve years, I have four full-length albums out, and I have degrees in physics, jazz, and songwriting.

I love creating, I love figuring things out, but most of all, I love helping people.

Learn more about me

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