June 09, 2011

Speech Therapy Found to be of NO Benefit for Spasmodic Dysphonia

A recent study was published that has found that speech therapy had minimal if any significant beneficial effect on spasmodic dysphonia (a spastic vocal disorder) in a study cohort of 31 patients.

The study was divided in 3 patient treatment groups:

- One-third received no further intervention after botox injection which is considered standard of care in the treatment of spasmodic dysphonia
- One-third received a standard 5-week course of voice therapy after botox injection
- One-third received a 5-week course of sham voice therapy after botox injection

All patients regardless of treatment group experienced improved voice quality in response to botox injection.

However, patients who received voice therapy after botox injection did not experience longer injection effect duration or significantly greater improvements in vocal quality than patients in botox only or botox plus sham therapy groups.

Theoretically, it was felt that speech therapy could help reduce any muscle tension dysphonia that is often present in patients suffering from spasmodic dysphonia. However, this study does bring into question whether this actually happens.... or if botox alone eliminates the trigger and therefore the abnormal compensatory behavior making therapy unnecessary.

However, given the small study group size, more research is required to truly determine whether speech therapy has a role or not in the treatment of spasmodic dysphonia.

That said, voice therapy is THE main way to treat muscle tension dysphonia.

Combined Modality Treatment of Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia. J Voice. 2011 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print]
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.


Anonymous said...

what a sham, a survey of ONLY 31 patients does not under any circumstance offer proof !!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you about that. Get more research involved will ya.

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