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Spasmodic Dysphonia

What is spasmodic dysphonia?

Spasmodic dysphonia is a disorder of the voice, causing spasms of the voice box. This results in breaks in the voice and other irregularities. It can range in severity and is a lifelong condition. While everyone can be affected, females between the ages of 30 and 50 are impacted the most. 

There are three forms of this disorder: adductor, abductor, and mixed. 

What are the symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia?

Symptoms include strained, weak, difficult, breathy, and quiet speech. They can range in severity; some people may have issues with a word or two, while others can be rendered unable to talk. 

What causes spasmodic dysphonia?

The cause of this condition is unknown, although medical professionals suspect that it is a central nervous system disorder. The theory is that issues with the basal ganglia of the brain result in the characteristic symptoms. Multiple things can trigger this condition as well. It can be inherited or caused by an outside issue, such as an injury to the voice box, a long period of using one’s voice, a cold, the flu, or stress.  

How is spasmodic dysphonia diagnosed?

A speech pathologist or otolaryngologist is needed to obtain a diagnosis of spasmodic dysphonia. They will perform a physical exam and ask about patient history. A nasolaryngoscopy may also be necessary. 

What are the treatments for spasmodic dysphonia?

Treatment is symptomatic. Doctors will inject Botox into the voice box and perform surgery to remove a nerve of the vocal fold. Speech therapy is another part of treatment. 

Where can I find out more about spasmodic dysphonia?

Spasmodic Dysphonia Articles