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Massachusetts Eye and Ear
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Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Spasmodic Dysphonia

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Overview

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a neurological condition that causes the muscles that generate your voice to go into periods of spasm. There are two basic kinds: abductor SD, in which spasms open unpredictably in speaking, leading to breathy breaks, and adductor SD, in which spasms close unpredictably in speaking, leading to a strained/strangled sound.

4Common Symptoms

  • Strained voice
  • Breathy voice
  • Weak, quiet voice
  • Soundless breaks while talking

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of spasmodic dysphonia is based on a clinical evaluation of your voice production and quality, an examination of the vocal cords and their movements. A diagnostic procedure called a videolaryngostroboscopy may be performed to assess the vibration of the vocal cords.

If diagnosed with SD, the first-line treatment is the periodic administration of Botox into the larynx. Voice therapy has been shown to optimize the results of Botox injections and may increase the length of time between injections. Through customized exercises, voice therapy can help you speak more clearly and with less effort.

Meet Our Team

Collectively, we are among the world’s most experienced—and most successful—laryngology, voice, and speech teams.


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