Muscle Tension Dysphonia

What is Muscle Tension Dysphonia?

Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD) is a voice disorder characterised by strained, effortful voice that can usually tire your voice and in some cases cause damage to the vocal folds if used extensively.

Causes of Muscle Tension Dysphonia?

The cause of MTD is not very well understood.
It may be caused by irritants such as:

  • upper respiratory infection
  • passive smoking
  • acid reflux (heartburn)
  • excessive demand placed on your voice or stressful life events.
  • Often, it is likely that more than one of these factors contribute to MTD.

two types of MTD:

Primary MTD – in this type the muscles in your neck are tense when using your voice but there is no abnormality in the Larynx (“voice box”).
Secondary MDT – in this type there is an abnormality in the voice box causing you to over-use other muscles to help produce voice.

What are the symptoms of Muscle Tension Dysphonia?

Changes to your voice:

  • Your voice may sound husky, hoarse, breathy and/or rough.
  • The loudness of your voice may decrease.
  • You may find it difficult or effortful to make yourself heard in a noisy environment.
  • Your voice may become deeper.
  • The sound of your voice may deteriorate with prolonged voice use.