Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder. It causes involuntary spasms in the muscles of the voice box or larynx. This causes the voice to break, and have a tight, strained, or strangled sound.
Spasmodic dysphonia can cause problems ranging from trouble saying a word or two to not being able to talk at all.
Spasmodic dysphonia is a life-long condition. It most often affects women, particularly between the ages of 30 and 50.
There are 3 types of spasmodic dysphonia:
Adductor spasmodic dysphonia. This is the most common type. It causes sudden involuntary spasms that cause the vocal cords to stiffen and slam closed. The spasms interfere with vibration of the vocal cords and with making sound. Stress can make spasms worse. Speech sounds are strained and full of effort. Spasms don't happen when whispering, laughing, singing, speaking at a high pitch, or speaking while breathing in.
Abductor spasmodic dysphonia. This type causes sudden involuntary spasms that cause the vocal cords to open. Vibration can’t happen when cords are open so making sound is difficult. Also, the open position lets air escape during speech. Speech sounds are weak, quiet, and whispery. Spasms don't happen when laughing or singing.
- Mixed spasmodic dysphonia. This is a mix of symptoms of both types of dysphonia.