Spasmodic dysphonia is defined as a disorder that affects voice muscles in the voice box or larynx. It is neurological in nature. When a person suffers spasmodic dysphonia, spasms or sudden involuntary movements affect the vocal cord muscles. These spasms interfere with the folds to vibrate and produce voice.
Though rare, this disorder can still occur to about one to four people in every 100,000 and affects more women than men. There are three broad types of spasmodic dysphonia:
The most common type of spasmodic dysphonia, this kind is marked by spasms which make the vocal folds to close together and become stiff. Due to this, vibration and production of sound becomes difficult for vocal folds.
A person suffering this kind of spasmodic dysphonia, will say words that are cut off or will find it difficult to start saying some words because of the muscle spasms. Their speech may sound choppy and voice seems strained or strangled and full of effort.
However, at times when the person is laughing, crying, or shouting the voice may sound normal and without any spasms. Muscle spasms become severe when the affected person is stressed.
This type of spasmodic dysphonia makes the vocal folds to open up and when opened too far, they cannot vibrate to produce sound. Opened vocal folds allow air to escape from the lungs while the person attempts to speak. This results into weak and breathy sounds. Similar to adductor spasmodic dysphonia, there are no spasms during laughing, crying or shouting.
This kind is very rare and derives from a combination of above mentioned two types of dysphonias. Mixed spasmodic dysphonia has features of both adductor and abductor spasmodic dysphonia because both the muscles that open and the muscles that close the vocal folds do not function properly.
There is currently no cure for spasmodic dysphonia; therefore, treatment can only help reduce its symptoms.
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