Spasmodic (Laryngeal) Dysphonia

  • Roongroj Bhidayasiri
  • Daniel Tarsy
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is an adult-onset focal dystonia characterized by abnormal vocal cord contractions activated by speech. There are three forms of spasmodic dysphonia. The commonest form, making up about 90% of cases, is adductor dysphonia in which spasmodic adduction of the vocal cords causes interruptions in phonation called voice breaks. Because of this, the resultant closed glottis speech is highly strained, effortful, high-pitched, and reduced in volume. Whispering is often normal. The second most common type is abductor dysphonia in which patients have a breathy voice with aphonic interruptions occurring in the middle of a word. These typically occur when phonating a vowel right after a voiceless consonant such as a p, f, s, t, or h.


Vocal Cord Focal Dystonia Spasmodic Dysphonia Voice Therapy Thyroarytenoid Muscle 
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Supplementary material

Spasmodic (laryngeal) dyphonia.mp4 (MP4 17,298KB)

Patient exhibits a staccato style voice pattern. She can whisper and sing relatively normally.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roongroj Bhidayasiri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel Tarsy
    • 3
  1. 1.Chulalongkorn Center of Excellence on Parkinson’s Disease and Related DisordersChulalongkorn University HospitalBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyHarvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA

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