Dysphonia (diss-PHONE-nee-yah) is the medical term for disorders of the voice.
Functional dysphonia is poor voice quality without any obvious anatomical, neurological or other organic difficulties affecting the larynx or voice box. It is also referred to as functional voice difficulty.
There are two types of functional dysphonia:
- Hypofunctional dysphonia — Results from an incomplete closure of the vocal cords or folds.
- Hyperfunctional dysphonia — Results from overuse of the laryngeal muscles and, occasionally, use of the false vocal folds (the upper two vocal folds that are not involved in vocalization).
Functional dysphonia is more common in women over age 40.
Functional dysphonia is occasionally associated with viral illness (including measles and mumps) and major life stress.
Signs or Symptoms
Typical symptoms of functional dysphonia include:
- Breathy, hoarse or rough voice
- Voice instability
- Voice fatigue
The University of Michigan Vocal Health Center team will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and then do a thorough head and neck examination. During this process, we will also assess your vocal quality, vocal efficiency and speaking technique.
To make sure that there are no structural problems or disease, we may do a laryngoscopy procedure. The physician uses this procedure to get a clear and complete view of the vocal folds.
Overall, functional dysphonia is very treatable. At the University of Michigan Vocal Health Center, we offer a variety of treatments for functional dysphonia, including:
- Voice therapy
- Visual and electromyographic biofeedback
- Progressive relaxation
- Laryngeal massage, which lowers the larynx and relaxes tense muscles