Voice impairment has many causes

Approximately 17.9 million people in the United States have dysphonia, or trouble using their voices, according to the National Institutes of Deafness and Communication Disorders.

Dysphonia is defined as an abnormal sound of the voice, including hoarseness. Symptoms of hoarseness relate to problems in the sound-producing parts (vocal cords or folds) of the voice box or larynx. This results in a raspy, weak, or airy voice.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, when judged by a health care provider, dysphonia may include:

  • an abnormal voice quality,
  • pitch (how high or low),
  • diminished volume (loudness), or
  • excessive vocal effort to communicate.

Dysphonia International is dedicated to being a resource for persons with spasmodic dysphonia (SD) and related voice conditions, including muscle tension dysphonia, vocal tremor, and vocal cord paralysis. These specific causes of dysphonia are our current focus. We offer resources, tools and for people with SD, and we are building a collection for related disorders.

Dr. Robert Bastian, Director of the Bastian Voice Institute in Downers Grove, IL, categorizes vocal conditions as neurological, vocal cord vibratory injuries, benign lesions, inflammation, tumors, functional/nonorganic, and miscellaneous. He has generously shared his descriptions of voice disorders by cause. Full descriptions of these voice disorders can be found on his teaching website, Laryngopedia (www.laryngopedia.com).