What Is Spasmodic Dysphonia?

Posted in: Hearing News  |  June 8, 2012 
What Is Spasmodic Dysphonia?

Vocal strain can occur at any time – especially after singing, after talking more than normal or during allergy attacks. However, a chronic condition known as spasmodic dysphonia can lead to long-term vocal issues. From a hoarse voice to quivery speech to groaning sounds, the effects of the disorder can come and go over a lifetime, affecting each individual differently.

Spasmodic dysphonia results when at least one larynx (voice box) muscle involuntarily moves, and the functioning of the vocal cords becomes strained. This can lead to vocal spasms or episodes of aphonia, in which no sound can be produced. On the other hand, people with the condition sometimes experience symptom-free periods.

The effects of spasmodic dysphonia can be mild and sporadic at first, before increasing in severity and frequency over time and then, possibly, evening out for the long term. Symptoms can intensify during bouts of stress or fatigue, but they can dissipate (or go away entirely) during laughter or singing. Some people with the disorder eventually change their voice or adopt a partial accent to avoid the effects of spasmodic dysphonia.

The condition, which strikes more women than men and often hits between ages 30 and 50, cannot be cured. However, several processes can help manage symptoms:

  • Repeat Botox injections into the affected vocal cord(s)
  • Surgery
  • Speech therapy
  • Counseling (to address coping skills or career-related needs)

Although spasmodic dysphonia is rare, it can be frustrating. To address this or any vocal need, get in contact with us anytime. We’ll help diagnose and treat your condition with care, and on your schedule.