Muscle Tension Dysphonia

Here at Newcastle Speech Pathology we work with people of all ages who experience many different communication difficulties. One particular area we enjoy working in is helping those with voice disorders. Unfortunately voice disorders are not very well known in the general public and people often don’t realise that Speech Pathologists can help improve your voice. As a result, many of the clients who come to see us have been suffering for years with a painful, weak, or rough sounding voice.

During the month of June we’re hoping to let you know a little bit more about voice disorders. You’ll know where to come for help if your voice ever causes you problems!

One of the more common voice disorders we see is known as Muscle Tension Dysphonia. When the muscles required to produce and control the voice become too tight or too tense, the vocal quality and performance suffer. This is often an ‘over compensation’ for another underlying issue with the voice or poor vocal technique. The following factors can raise your risk of muscle tension dysphonia:

Irritation to the throat caused by:
• Smoking
• Laryngitis or other infections
• Gastro-oesophageal reflux

Large vocal demands such as:
• A sudden increase in the amount of singing/speaking required each day
• Frequent need to speak over background noise
• Stress

Some of the symptoms of muscle tension dysphonia include:
• A rough or hoarse quality to the voice
• A strained quality to the voice
• An unreliable voice which can drop out at times
• Pain when speaking
• Reduced vocal range (voice doesn’t go as high and low as it used to)

If you’re concerned about the quality of your voice, or feel like you lose your voice frequently and it takes you a long time to recover, speak to your GP about seeing a Speech Pathologist or ENT. Here at Newcastle Speech Pathology, we can help you find out whether your voice is normal for your age and gender. We can also equip you with the skills and techniques you need to improve the quality of your voice.

Written by Bec
Speech Pathologist
Newcastle Speech Pathology