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Spasmodic Dysphonia

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Speech problems, dysphonia


  • Dysphonia simply means difficulty in speaking, specifically in the phonation of sound.  Dysphonia may occur during puberty when voice changes occur, after a cold, or with sore throat (e.g., hoarseness).
  • However, spasmodic Dysphonia is a voice disorder that affects the normal movement of the vocal cords during speech (i.e., when they come together) and results in a quivery, hoarse, jerky, or groaning voice.
  • The spasms may inhibit sound altogether (i.e., aphonia) or produce periods when there is near normal voice quality.
  • The symptoms tend to worsen during fatigue, stress, and Anxiety and may significantly improve when the patient is relaxed or even singing.
  • The disorder may follow an upper respiratory infection or a recent stressful event.
  • It may also be associated with dystonia (neurological disorder affecting muscle tone), neurological conditions, or other chronic illnesses.
  • Spasmodic Dysphonia tends to affect those between ages 30 and 50, but is also seen in children and adolescents.  Women are more often affected than men.
  • Evaluation by an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) physician and a speech therapist is mandatory before appropriate treatment can begin.




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