Also referred to as muscle tension dysphonia (MTD) or vocal hyper function, hyperfunctional dysphonia is the constriction and overexertion of the muscles around the larynx (voice box). Although anyone can experience hyperfunctional dysphonia, people between the ages of 40 and 50 are more likely to have the condition.
What Causes Hyperfunctional Dysphonia?
There are a number of factors that can lead to hyperfunctional dysphonia, such as:
- Long-term misuse of the voice
- Acid reflux
- Sudden changes in the voice due to an infection or stress
It is worth noting that hyperfunctional dysphonia can be brought on by one or more of these causes.
What Symptoms Are Associated With Hyperfunctional Dysphonia?
Individuals with hyperfunctional dysphonia can experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Hoarseness in the voice
- Breathy, weak speech
- Sudden breaks in volume while speaking
- Pain after speaking or singing for a long period of time
- Labored speech
These symptoms may come and go regularly, giving a false indication that the patient’s voice is back to normal. Stamina in the voice may also be affected and can range in severity, with the voice growing tired at the end of a long day in mild instances, to more extreme cases where fatigue may set in after only a few minutes of speaking.
How is Hyperfunctional Dysphonia Diagnosed?
Proper diagnosis of hyperfunctional dysphonia is only possible through the examination of the larynx. An otolaryngologist will evaluate the larynx during voice production to identify the underlying cause(s) of the problem. In addition, a patient may be asked to discuss his or her medical history to help a medical professional recognize any health issues that may be contributing to hyperfunctional dysphonia.
How is Hyperfunctional Dysphonia Treated?
Depending on the diagnosis, treatment for hyperfunctional dysphonia may vary. The otolaryngologists at Tampa General Hospital often treat hyperfunctional dysphonia using a combination of the following solutions:
- Voice therapy led by a speech-language therapist (SLT)
- Botox injections, often used in conjunction with voice therapy in an effort to keep the voice box from spasming