Speech Therapy

What Is Spastic Dysphonia? – Overview

My dad’s friend of over 40 years came to our house like any other day at tea time and we all were enjoying a good evening. Suddenly, his voice cracked, and he panicked. Without wasting any time we took him to his son’s hospital and he was diagnosed with Spastic Dysphonia. Later when he regained his ability to speak and when he was in the frame of mind to speak, he said he felt a sudden muscle pull in his throat and he felt strangulated.

What Is Spastic Dysphonia?
It is a voice disorder that involves the muscles of the vocal chords. A contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles used in speaking is experienced when this disorder is experienced. These spasms result in low quality of the voice, weak voice, broken speech, strangled, stiff, or strained quality to it. Because of these spasms, it is also called as Spasmodic Dysphonia. It is also called as Laryngeal Dystonia.

What Are The Different Types Of Laryngeal Dystonia?
There are three types of this voice disorder namely, Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia, Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia, and Mixed Spasmodic Dysphonia. Let us learn a bit more about each of these types in brief.

Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia:
In this type of dystonia, the spasms or the muscle contractions of the larynx or the vocal chords are slammed together and stiffened. The stiff vocal chords find it hard to vibrate and produce voice. As a result the voice becomes choppy, the words are cut off, and the person sounds as if he is stuttering.
When a person is laughing, whispering, singing, and speaking loudly, these spasms do not occur. But, singers do feel problem with certain notes and pitches while singing.

Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia:
In exactly opposite to the previous type, the muscle contractions or the spasms leave the vocal chords open. Open chords do not vibrate and create sound because the air escapes the lungs when speaking. This results in the voice being too weak, whispering, and breathy.
These spasms are not witnessed during laughing, singing, or when speaking loudly. But, a certain amount of discomfort is felt when singers attempt certain pitches and tones.

Mixed Spasmodic Dysphonia:
Mixed dsyphonia affects both the muscles of the larynx that open and close at different times to produce sounds.
These muscle contractions are again not seen when whispering, singing, or laughing. And the symptoms are a mixed bag of both the adductor and the abductor voice disorders.

This was a brief note about spastic dysphonia. If you or any one you know has this voice disorder it is better to consult a doctor. There are many treatments available for correcting the problem.

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