Voice therapy spasmodic dysphonia

Voice therapy for spasmodic dysphonia should focus on decreasing the effort needed to speak.

Producing voice requires a very delicate balance between all the muscles involved in speaking and breathing.
People with SD tend to push and strain their voice out.  Because of the vocal spasms, the voice doesn’t come out naturally.
The logical reaction when things don’t go the way you want them to go, is that you try harder.

The more you try, the worse your voice becomes. You start to push more with all the muscles in your body, even the ones in your face.

The right way to produce more voice is counter intuitive; you have to try less. You have to speak softer with less effort.

Voice (speech) therapy for spasmodic dysphonia should do just that.
Exercises to speak easier could be:

  • Start with speaking as soft as possible and then gradually turn up the volume
  • Speak with maximum resonance; feel your voice more
  • Work on diaphragmatic breathing
  • Speak at a lower pitch
  • Place your voice as low in your body as possible (at the position of your belly-button)
  • Sit or stand straight
  • Speak more breathy (start a sigh just before you start to speak)
  • Humm just before you start to speak
  • Make the words flow more. Speak like your singing.
  • Speak with a lowered larynx to open up your windpipe. You do this by letting your tongue lie flat and relaxed on the floor of your mouth.



What you need for voice production

For the production of voice we need 4 things:

1. Air pressure produced by the lungs to vibrate the vocal chords
2. Vocal chords that open and close creating vibrations in the air-flow
3. Resonance of the air vibrations in the vocal tract
4. Openings in the body like the mouth and the nose to let the produced sound out
If there is a problem with one or more of these requirements the voice quality will suffer.

When the vocal chords close more, there is more surface to vibrate or to produce sound. So
when they are closer together, the sound becomes louder, with a lower pitch, with more vibration.
After each vibration, the vocal chords close very fast, for a short moment. Air under the vocal
chords builds up pressure and when they re-open the vibrating air comes out, producing the

Male and female voice

The frequency of the male voice is around 120 Hz and of the average woman lies around 210
Hz. This means that the vocal chords will close 120 times and 210 times a second for the male
and female voice. If you have a job where speaking is important, they will close 30.000 times an hour.