Spasmodic dysphonia refers to an involuntary spasm of the larynx (vocal cords) during speech. Thought to begin in the central nervous system, spasmodic dysphonia is likely caused by an incorrect signal from the brain which tells the voice box to spasm.
Symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia depend on how the vocal cord is spasming during speech:
- The most common form of spasmodic is adductor spasmodic dysphonia, in which vocal cords spasm shut too tightly during speech – resulting in choppy speech in which words “get stuck in the throat”.
- Much less common is abductor spasmodic dysphonia, in which vocal cords spasm open during speech, leading to breathy speech as air escapes through the open voice box.
- Mixed spasmodic dysphonia, in which the vocal cords spasm open and closed, combines features of both adductor and abductor spasmodic dysphonia.
Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment
The general treatment for spasmodic dysphonia centers around botulinum toxin injection. Botulinum toxin will weaken the spasming muscles, diminishing symptoms of the spasm and improving voice. Each successful botulinum toxin treatment will generally last for two or three months before it begins to wear off.
Make an Appointment
Contact the Johns Hopkins Voice Center by calling 443-997-6467 (443-997-OHNS).