The human voice is one of the most unique and spectacular aspects of communication which enhances our ability to interact with each other. Communication certainly requires a language base and the ability to articulate various sounds in combination in order to be understood.
However, have you ever thought about how your voice quality is just as important? If you have ever had laryngitis, you probably recall having a very difficult time getting others to understand you. While rest and over-the-counter medications are useful in helping your voice recover, one method might give your voice the volume it needs: BOTOX.
Your voice is the product of two muscles in your larynx called the vocal cords. These muscles open up when you breathe and close when you exhale or speak. Normally, they will vibrate against each other utilize airflow from the lungs over 150 to 200 times per second to create your unique voice.
However, if these vocal cords spasm and can’t open or close correctly, your speech can sound muffled or strained.
There are many reasons why one’s voice becomes impaired, ranging from a virus or inflection that causes laryngitis and swelling in the vocal folds, to vocal over-use that damages the tissue of the vocal folds resulting in hoarseness or “dysphonia”. There can also be neurological disorders that affect how the vocal folds function. The most common result is vocal fold weakness or even paralysis. Vocal fold weakness can also happen over time as we get older.
However, there is a very rare voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia or laryngeal dystonia that causes interruptions in how the vocal folds vibrate. This results in a very distorted voice that is difficult to understand.
According to Dr. Terri Gerlach, a CEENTA voice and swallowing specialist from our SouthPark office, “Spasmodic dysphonia or laryngeal dystonia is believed to be a neurological disorder originating in the basal ganglia of the brain, an area that controls movement. Signals from the brain to the brain stem and then to the nerves that innervate the vocal folds likely send incorrect impulses that result in spasming of the vocal folds.”
While mostly known for its cosmetic uses, BOTOX can be useful for those with vocal spasms. These injections can weaken or paralyze muscle contractions, causing muscles that cause fine lines and wrinkles to relax. When used for spasmodic dysphonia, BOTOX can weaken the vocal cords to reduce or even eliminate spasms, causing sound to produce and flow naturally.
However, this treatment is not a permanent solution. BOTOX treatments as a whole are meant to be temporary. As the effects wear off, the connection between the vocal cords and the nerves resumes, which could bring back spasms. With that said, BOTOX vocal treatments can last for at least 2-4 months at a time.
If you find your voice sounding choppy or muffled consistently, you might have a vocal disorder. CEENTA’s team of voice and swallowing specialists can diagnose and treat many voice disorders such as spasmodic dysphonia. Keep your message going by scheduling with Dr. Terri Gerlach at our SouthPark location today.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.
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