What Is Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD) and what is Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD) & How can you deal with those nasty voice disorders?
With this voice-related problem, movement of the vocal cords is forced and strained resulting in a jerky, hoarse, tight or groaning voice. If you are affected by Spasmodic Dysphonia Disorder, the muscles inside your vocal box (mainly larynx and vocal cords) may receive some abnormal nerve signals that most of the time cause the vocal folds to spasm uncontrollably.
Symptoms of Spasmodic Dysphonia
At first, the symptoms may be mild and they may occur only occasionally. But with time, they may worsen and the spasms become more frequent.
The main symptom of spasmodic dysphonia is a forced movement of the muscles inside the vocal box. This usually causes a very strained voice. The words you speak may be dragged out or broken while you talk. The symptoms may also include:
• A hoarse voice
• Difficult production of air when speaking
• There is too much air behind your words (excessive breathy voice)
• Difficulty swallowing liquids and food
A mild form of this vocal disorder (what is known as muscle tension dysphonia), could also compromise your speech making your words difficult to understand. Moreover, these symptoms may get worse when a person is fatigued and/or stressed, not to mention the intense speaking with an improper voice application or singing with an improper vocal technique.
What causes it and who is at risk?
This condition can develop at any age. During this time, you may assume that there is a structural problem with your voice box, vocal cords or some other part of your throat.
The main causes and risk factors for muscle tension dysphonia or spasmodic dysphonia can come from more than one source. Some people with the condition of spasmodic dysphonia appear to have an abnormality with their nervous system, which produces an organic tremor of the vocal cords. While others may have dystonia, another kind of neurological disorder that creates abnormal muscle tone.
What treatment options are available?
There is no known cure for spasmodic dysphonia, but there are treatments available that will help you significantly relieve its symptoms.
There is a form of alternative speech therapy that can teach you to improve your muscle control and correct your breathing that can help you speak more clearly.