Spasmodic dysphonia (laryngeal dystonia) is a voice disorder that occurs because of the involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx or voice box. The condition is characterised by difficulty saying a word or two or they may experience sufficient difficulty to interfere with communication.
The diagnosis of spasmodic dysphonia is usually made based on identifying the way the symptoms developed as well as by careful examination of the individual. Most people are evaluated by a team that usually includes an otolaryngologist (a physician who specializes in ear, nose and throat disorders), a speech-language pathologist (a professional trained to diagnose and treat speech, language and voice disorders) and a neurologist (a physician who specializes in nervous system disorders).
The otolaryngologist examines the vocal folds to look for other possible causes for the voice disorder. Fiberoptic nasolaryngoscopy, a method whereby a small lighted tube is passed through the nose and into the throat, is a helpful tool that allows the otolaryngologist to evaluate vocal cord movement during speech. The speech-language pathologist evaluates the patient's voice and voice quality. The neurologist evaluates the patient for signs of other muscle movement disorders.
As of now, there is no cure for spasmodic dysphonia. The treatment approaches that are being used only help reduce the symptoms of this voice disorder. Voice therapy may reduce some symptoms, especially in mild cases.
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