Spasmodic Dysphonia/ Laryngeal Dystonia

Quick Facts

  • Laryngeal dystonia is often referred to as spasmodic dysphonia.
  • Spasmodic dysphonia is a focal form of dystonia that affects the vocal cords.
  • Symptoms include involuntary contractions of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the voice quality.
  • One of the most characteristic features of spasmodic dysphonia is the patterned, repeated breaks in speech.
  • Symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia come in several varieties, but can be broadly divided into two forms: adductor and abductor.
  • The more common adductor type causes a tight, strangled-sounding voice quality, often with abrupt starting and stopping of the voice.
  • The abductor type causes a breathy, whispering voice.
  • Treatment may include speech/voice therapy and/or botulinum toxin injections, and complementary therapies such as regular relaxation practices.
  • Most cases of spasmodic dysphonia/laryngeal dystonia are primary and develop in adults.

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