Thursday, June 13, 2019
Could Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD) Transform into Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD)?
In the year 2014, I got an e-mail from a person who said that she had been diagnosed with Muscle Tension Dysphonia.
In that e-mail, she said that her speaking voice was quite compromised and that she was seeking help in that regard. As usual, I responded and asked her to give me a call so that I could hear her voice - and would know what I would potentially be dealing with in order to help her to the best of my knowledge. She had never called; thus it was left up in the air…
In the year 2015, I got yet another e-mail from her, reminding me that we had already communicated (via e-mail) a year ago. In this e-mail, she was revealing that now, her Muscle Tension Dysphonia had turned into Spasmodic Dysphonia. She also warned me that her speaking voice got exponentially worse. I have an extremely good memory and I could recall right away who she was.
So right from my phone, I responded and told her that I was on the way home from work and that I would be home in an hour. I also wrote to her that, at this time, she would definitely have to call me - or, otherwise, I will not waste my time responding to yet another e-mail from her. Surely enough, I got a call from her and, I swear to God, I could not understand one word she was saying… After trying to bring this conversation to some reasonable state, I had given up and told her outright that, at this point, I would not be able to help her with anything. It was too far gone. It did turn into (by my definition) a stage-four SD (the last stage of this disorder, which is completely untreatable, let alone curable).
I felt for her because she was a fairly young woman in her mid-40s. At this stage, she was as good as a quadriplegic person in a wheelchair. It makes me wonder… if she actually called me a year before, when it was still Muscle Tension Dysphonia, I most likely would be able to attend to her and even, quite likely, bring her to a full recovery.
She did not…, so go figure!!
The person, who happened to be a teacher, had been suffering first from Muscle Tension Dysphonia as well. And now, three years later, according to her, her voice became much worse. Though to her credit, the next morning after I responded to her e-mail, she actually placed a call to me. Needless to say that she has now been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia.
With Muscle Tension Dysphonia, the voice gets hoarse and raspy, as the voice gets stuck in the neck muscles - which is also not easy to recover. My colloquial explanation to that would be as such:
- If the person “drowns in a bathtub”, it is much easier to recover that person and bring them back to life. But if the person had “drowned in the ocean and hit the bottom of it”, that makes it a completely different issue. It’s definitely much harder to recover that person and even harder to bring that person back to life…
If you remember, my reader, I categorized Spasmodic Dysphonia into four stages. So if that person “drowns in the ocean”, but did not “hit the absolute bottom of the ocean” ( compared to stage one or two of SD ) then it is definitely treatable ( from where I sit ) and, quite often, even curable.
SD often has a neurological nature, but not always. In both cases, the voice “drowns” in the lowest throat position and begins to spasm uncontrollably… Often, it is emotionally induced, whereas often the thyroid (in the manner of speaking) tightens and then practically incloses on the person - and needless to say, the person’s voice becomes significantly compromised.
Given all of the above, my approach to the aforementioned matters is completely holistic; and not only to the mechanics of the voice but to the person as a whole.
I always say that your voice is a reflection of the state of your being, and (most of the times) an identification of who you actually are - like your fingerprints or your DNA). So if the problem is just mechanical in both instances (MTD and SD), then it is definitely treatable and, most likely, curable. If there are more physical issues, coupled with the emotional state of being, then the matters become more complicated.
So my wishes to those people who had been affected by any-of-the-above voice disorders are to try to research and find the best course of action for the most effective treatment… and nonetheless, once found, act upon it immediately!