Muscle Tension Dysphonia

Weekly Teaching Tip – August 26, 2013

One of the most common voice disorders I encounter in my Otolaryngology Practice is Muscles Tension Dysphonia (MTD). I would like to briefly discuss my understanding of this voice disorder.

What is MTD? MTD occurs when the muscles around the larynx or external laryngeal muscles are too tight and are overused in the speaking or singing voice. A person may strain, squeeze, and push these muscles inappropriately causing the true vocal folds to not function properly. Some patients will complain of throat tightness and experience muscle aches in the neck while talking. Symptoms of MTD are rough or hoarse voice, sense of strained voice, a voice that gets worse with progressive use, and throat or neck pain when talking. Diagnosis is made by taking a careful history and then stroboscopy. On strobe exam one usually notices perfectly normal true vocal folds, but one must be looking for excessive use of the false vocal folds and surrounding supraglottic musculature. If the condition is chronic you may see True Vocal Cord nodules compensatory to the persistent straining and pressing of the voice. Nodules or not, the treatment is the same. A visit to the vocally trained Speech Language Pathologist for voice therapy. Surgery is not indicated for the nodules if seen. This topic will be discussed more thoroughly by Anna Siciliano SLP in the upcoming Voice Seminar on Sept 14, 2013. just a reminder to RSVP as soon as possible so we can plan appropriate seating and refreshment for participants. Leave me a message at 801 860-2019. We are going to try and video for those IVTOM members who live out of the Salt Lake area.

Thank you, Curt R Stock MD

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