Spasmodic dysphonia is a rare neurological condition that affects a person's speech. Speech requires pushing air from the lungs between the vocal cords in the throat. This causes the vocal cords to vibrate, creating sounds the lips and tongue shape into words. Spasmodic dysphonia affects the muscles in the voice box, the larynx, causing them to spasm involuntarily and affecting a person's ability to produce normal speech. The condition varies in severity from person to person and may become worse over time.
Experts do not know why some people develop spasmodic dysphonia, though it appears to most often develop due to abnormalities in the brain. Research suggests the affected area is one deep inside the brain called the basal ganglia. In some cases, spasmodic dysphonia has a genetic component, meaning a parent passed it onto their child. Medical professionals once believed the cause of the condition was psychological because the voice sometimes sounded normal. Although this is a possible reason for spasmodic dysphonia, it is very rare.
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