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Spasmodic dysphonia is reported to be one of the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions in Speech-Language Pathology. Because there is no definitive test for the SD, the diagnosis rests on the presence of characteristic clinical symptoms and signs in the absence of other conditions that may mimic spasmodic dysphonia.

It is important that an interdisciplinary team of professionals evaluate and provide accurate differential diagnosis. This team usually includes a speech-language pathologist who evaluates voice production and voice quality; a neurologist who carefully searches for other signs of dystonia or other neurological conditions; and an otolaryngologist who examines the vocal cords and their movements.

The otolaryngologist examines the vocal folds to look for other possible causes for the voice disorder. Fiberoptic nasolaryngoscopy, a method whereby a small lighted tube is passed through the nose and into the throat, is a helpful tool that allows the otolaryngologist to evaluate vocal cord movement during speech. The speech-language pathologist evaluates the person's voice and voice quality. The neurologist evaluates the affected-person for signs of other muscle movement disorders.

The excessive strain and misuse of muscle tension dysphonia, the harsh strained voice of certain neurological conditions, the weak voice symptoms of Parkinson's disease, certain psychogenic voice problems, and voice tremors are often confused with spasmodic dysphonia.
















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Last updated: 06/09/05.