Causes of Muscle Tension Dysphonia
Muscle tension dysphonia may arise following an upper respiratory infection, in conjunction with acid reflux, as a result of heightened stress or anxiety, or even due to heavy vocal demands. This voice condition may also present as compensation for an underlying problem, such as vocal fold paresis/paralysis, vocal fold atrophy, or benign lesions of the vocal folds.
Normal vocal fold position at rest.
Example of muscle tension dysphonia.
SymptomsMuscle tension dysphonia is often characterized by a strained quality. Patients may report vocal fatigue and a sensation that the voice is effortful to produce, which may be more noticeable with extended voice use over the course of a day. The voice quality may be hoarse/raspy and unpredictable. In some cases, voicing may result in throat or neck pain. In more severe cases, patients are unable to produce voice much above a whisper.
Our voice care team at the Voice and Swallowing Center has the advanced training and skills necessary to diagnose this voice condition. During the initial visit, you will be assessed by one of our laryngologists and likely, an additional session with one of our voice pathologists. We use cutting-edge diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your voice disorder and to develop your plan of care. Following a thorough discussion of your symptoms and medical history, be expected to undergo the following assessments:
- Video Laryngostroboscopy: Using a small camera inserted through the nose or mouth, our specialists are able to assess the health and function of your larynx (voice box) and assess for compression of the muscles surrounding the vocal folds during voicing tasks.
- Perceptual, Acoustic, and Aerodynamic Voice Evaluation: This is a comprehensive assessment of multiple voice parameters completed by the voice pathologist.