In our last blog, we discussed two types of vocal fold lesions that can cause difficulties with voice production: nodules and polyps. Today we’ll introduce another voice disorder: spasmodic dysphonia.
Spasmodic dysphonia is characterized by involuntary movements of one or more of the muscles involved in speech production. This creates a forced or strained movement of the vocal folds resulting in a hoarse, quivery, or jerky vocal quality. These vocal abnormalities are typically irregular, interspersed with periods of normal vocal quality, and periods in which no sound can be produced at all.
Symptoms may be mild at first, gradually increasing in severity and frequency. Vocal quality tends to decline during periods of stress or exhaustion, and improve during activities such as singing or laughing.
Spasmodic dysphonia currently has no cure, but several treatments exist to help reduce symptoms and improve vocal quality. Often, a doctor will administer injections of Botox directly into the vocal folds. This weakens the muscles and results in a smoother voice, but must be done on a regular basis in order to maintain results. For the best vocal quality, subsequent therapy with a speech-language pathologist is recommended. The speech therapist will help the patient understand how to best manage their voice in order to create the best vocal quality possible. A speech-language pathologist can also counsel the patient by providing strategies for optimizing their vocal use in day-to-day situations.
If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with voice use, contact your physician, and find a speech-language pathologist who can help you get back to sounding like yourself again! Visit us at www.speechassociatesofny.com today to find a speech-language pathologist who’s right for you.