Nigel Cheng – Speech and Language Therapist specialising in voice

Nigel Cheng – Speech and Language Therapist specialising in voice

I was doing a French and linguistics degree before studying speech and language therapy. After completing the first semester, I found myself rethinking my career path. I sought advice from my mentor/friend back in Hong Kong, who used to teach me English when I was little and she believed I’d excel in speech and language therapy because of my good listening skills. After doing some research, I decided to take a leap of faith and apply for a degree. I was excited because I knew I would enjoy learning about a wide range of clinical areas while putting my knowledge and skills into practice to improve people’s lives.

As a gay man, I’m particularly aware of the femininity in my voice, which sparked my interest in transgender voice and communication therapy. I absolutely enjoyed volunteering at a trans voice workshop in Manchester and gaining experience in this field. Having listened to and researched trans people’s experiences with gender identity services, I learnt that there is so much more to be done to reduce health inequities in this population. Coming from a diverse cultural background, I’m particularly interested in multicultural issues in the profession. I really enjoyed researching lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender cultural competence among SLTs for my dissertation. I hope that our profession and other healthcare professions can better care for clients from culturally diverse backgrounds in the coming years.

I currently work in voice disorders in outpatients. I work mostly with adults with voice issues with varying degrees of impact on quality of life. They range from an amateur actor/ singer using suboptimal vocal projection skills to professional voice users who use their voice intensively on a daily basis.

What I enjoy most of about working in speech and language therapy is the lifelong learning and reflection! No one has total knowledge and skills; we all keep learning and reflecting on our experiences in order to continuously improve ourselves and better care for our clients.