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Spasmodic Dysphonia

Spasmodic Dysphonia

What is spasmodic dysphonia (Stiff voice or tight voice)?
Spasmodic dysphonia is a chronic long-term voice disorder with movement of the vocal cords is forced and strained resulting in a jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight or groaning voice. Vocal interruptions or spasms, periods of no sound (aphonia) and periods of near normal voice occur.
Spasmodic dysphonia is characterized by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx or voice box.

Spasmodic dysphonia is a neurologic disorder that the exact cause is not known.

How can we diagnose spasmodic dysphonia?
Voice Pathologist evaluates voice production and voice quality.
ENT specialist examine the vocal cords and their movement
Neurologist looks for signs of neurological problems.

How do we treat spasmodic dysphonia?
Several treatment options exist for voice improvement in cases of spasmodic dysphonia though at present, there is no cure for spasmodic dysphonia.

The mainstay of therapy is botulinum toxin injections into the affected laryngeal muscles .Repeat injections of small doses of botulinum toxin (Botox) into one or both vocal cords are quite effective done by our voice surgeons. Botox weakens laryngeal muscles and results in a smoother, less effortful voice because of less forceful closing of the vocal cords. The effect of injections is temporary causing a beneficial effect for three to four months

Psychological or psychiatric counselling is done when acceptance of the disorder and learning coping techniques are the desired goals.

Other treatments include cutting the nerve to the voice box, changing the shape of the voice box by phonosurgery and voice rehabilitation.

How effective are treatments for spasmodic dysphonia?
While each of treatments has been successful in some, they have not been successful in others. Voice Therapy is often recommended after surgery.