Spasmodic Dysphonia

Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center

Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors located in St. Clair Shores, Macomb Township, Rochester Hills, Grosse Pointe, and Sterling Heights, MI

When your voice breaks while you’re talking, feels strained, or sounds breathy, you may have spasmodic dysphonia. The physicians at Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center have the expertise to evaluate your voice, determine whether you have a vocal cord spasm, and recommend treatment to relieve your symptoms. To learn more about spasmodic dysphonia, book an appointment online or call one of their offices in St. Clair Shores, Macomb Township, Rochester, Grosse Pointe, and Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Spasmodic Dysphonia Q & A

What is spasmodic dysphonia?

Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder caused by spasms of the voice box muscles. As the muscles spasm, your normal voice is affected.

You can develop three types of spasmodic dysphonia:

Adductor spasmodic dysphonia

Muscle spasms make your vocal cords close at the wrong time while you’re speaking if you have adductor spasmodic dysphonia. As a result, it’s hard to produce a normal voice. About 80-95% of patients with spasmodic dysphonia have this type.

Abductor spasmodic dysphonia

Spasmodic DysphoniaWith this type of dysphonia, your vocal cords open, or move apart, at the wrong time, causing air leaks.

Mixed spasmodic dysphonia

This is a combination of the abductor and adductor types of dysphonia.

What causes spasmodic dysphonia?

Spasmodic dysphonia is a type of dystonia, which means it’s a neurological disease. It’s caused by a disorder of your central nervous system that leads to involuntary muscle spasms when you’re speaking. It seldom affects swallowing and breathing.

What are the symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia?

The primary symptoms are changes in the quality of your voice or in your ability to talk, which vary depending on the type of spasmodic dysphonia.

With adductor spasmodic dysphonia, your voice sounds strained, and you experience strangled breaks while you’re speaking. With abductor spasmodic dysphonia, your voice sounds breathy, and you develop soundless breaks while speaking. With mixed spasmodic dysphonia, you may have any or all of those symptoms.

With all three types, it often takes more effort to speak.

How is spasmodic dysphonia diagnosed?

Spasmodic DysphoniaYour doctor may diagnose spasmodic dysphonia based on the description of your symptoms and the sound of your voice. The pattern of your voice breaks is a key diagnostic criterion, however, so you’ll also undergo a speech-language pathology exam to evaluate your voice and speech patterns.

Other diagnostic procedures include a neurologic evaluation and laryngoscopy to examine your vocal cords visually and potentially see spasms.

How is spasmodic dysphonia treated?

Spasmodic dysphonia is treated with botulinum toxin injections. When injected into your vocal cords, botulinum blocks nerves that make muscles contract, which in turn relaxes the spasm. Your Lakeshore ENT doctor performs this minimally invasive treatment in the office.

Generally, you’ll return for additional injections about every three to five months to maintain results. You may also benefit from voice therapy in conjunction with the botulinum injections.

If the quality of your voice has changed for the worse,  or your voice breaks while talking, call Lakeshore Ear, Nose & Throat Center or book an appointment online today.

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