The Science Behind Dysphonia

The term dysphonia sounds serious. To call it a hoarse voice doesn’t seem quite so bad. However, both are generic terms that cover a range of voice disorders that make you sound like, well, somebody else, and usually not in a good way. 

Defining a voice disorder usually means meeting one of two criteria: your voice quality is different or unusual for your age, gender, geographic location, or cultural background; or your voice causes you concern about meeting your needs, even if other people don’t notice a problem.

The doctors at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates are dysphonia specialists, and they’re your first call when something isn’t right about your voice. They can diagnose and treat virtually any voice issue, first dealing with physical problems, then moving to corrective voice therapy. 

Since dysphonia affects people of all ages, keep Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates in mind if your child struggles with voice issues.

Voice disorders

While as many as 9% of Americans may have voice disorders, fewer than 1% of those affected seek treatment. Part of this may be due to the extensive range of signs that accompany dysphonia, with some mistakenly attributed to other illnesses or disorders. A partial list of dysphonia signs and symptoms includes:

You could have any one of these problems or several in combination. The extent of your symptoms need not be severe if they’re enough to concern you.

Classes of voice disorders

Dysphonia generally breaks down into two classes. Organic voice disorders have a physical cause or reason behind them, and they can be categorized by structural issues with voice-producing tissue, such as changes to the vocal folds or nodules in the throat, or nerve issues, where central or peripheral nervous system problems cause the changes that affect your voice.

Functional voice disorders result from inefficient or improper use of the voice, resulting in vocal mechanics that cause the dysphonia. There’s no structural or nerve issue detected, so voice issues originate from the way you speak or sing, and treatment typically focuses on voice therapy to resolve the problem.

Types of dysphonia

Though dysphonia is often a generic term, some specific types occur regularly.

Muscle tension dysphonia is a functional disorder that results from the improper use of the muscles around the larynx.

Spasmodic dysphonia results from involuntary muscle spasms in the larynx. It’s an organic voice disorder that causes the voice to break resulting in strained and strangled sounds.

As you see, dysphonia is a varied and complex disorder that’s often difficult to diagnose. Contact the closest office of Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates any time a distracting voice issue affects you or a family member. Call today, or you can send a message to the team here on the website. Make yourself heard.



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