Dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia is a neurological disorder. It affects the larynx, also known as the voice box. The vocal cords spasm, affecting your voice and causing interruptions in speech.

Dysphonia: What You Need to Know 

Prevention
The causes of Dysphonia are unknown. While there is no way to completely prevent dysphonia, doctors recommend avoiding severe temperature changes as well as noisy environments that force you to strain your voice. In addition, keeping yourself hydrated and resting your voice (especially if your job requires you to talk a lot) can help. 

Teamwork
Fletcher Allen doctors use a collaborative approach to treat dysphonia. Your team may include a number of different specialists working together to manage your care.

Technology
We use the most sophisticated technology available for diagnosing and treating dysphonia, including the latest advances in endoscopy as well as devices that can help you communicate more easily.

Personalized Care
Fletcher Allen doctors tailor a course of treatment specifically for you. Your treatment may include therapy, medication or surgery.

Experience, Trusted Expertise
At Fletcher Allen, our specialists have years of experience diagnosing and treating voice disorders, including dysphonia. You can feel confident knowing you have placed your care in experienced and skilled hands.

What is dysphonia?

When we speak, air pushes its way between our vocal cords. The pressure on the vocal cords causes them to vibrate, which produces our voice. In patients with spasmodic dysphonia, the vocal cords spasm, meaning they suddenly move. This spasm interferes with the vocal cords’ ability to vibrate and produce voice. Dysphonia can cause the voice to sound strange and can interfere with your ability to talk and communicate. 

There are three types of spasmodic dysphonia:

  1. Adductor spasmodic dysphonia, the most common type, occurs when the vocal cords stiffen, causing the voice to sound strained.
  2. Abductor spasmodic dysphonia occurs when the vocal cords open, making the voice sound weak.
  3. Mixed spasmodic dysphonia is a combination of adductor and abductor and is very rare.

We don’t know what causes dysphonia. Doctors think it is due to abnormal functioning in part of the brain. The symptoms can appear slowly over time. In some cases, spasmodic dysphonia can run in families.

Doctors have not identified specific risk factors for dysphonia. However, research has shown that the symptoms sometimes begin following:

  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Injury to the larynx (voice box)
  • Overusing or overstressing your voice
  • Stress

Diagnosis and Treatment: Dysphonia

It can be difficult to diagnose spasmodic dysphonia because the symptoms are very similar to other voice disorders. Our specialists the necessary expertise in voice and throat disorders and will provide an accurate diagnosis.

Although there is no cure for dysphonia, our team will work with you to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Learn more about dysphonia diagnosis and treatment.

Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call us at 802-847-4535.