Shush! What is she saying? I can’t hear her.
For people with spasmodic dysphonia, also known as laryngeal dystonia, speaking can be an incredible effort prior to treatment. This form of dystonia is considered rare. Caused by overactive movement of muscles of the larynx, a smooth flow of speech is impossible. The person’s voice may sound strained, effortful and experience sudden interruptions causing the voice to momentarily drop out during conversation. Botulinum toxin injections remain the preferred treatment for the majority of people suffering from spasmodic dysphonia. Following treatment, the vocal cords are temporarily relaxed until the effect of the toxin begins to wear off. Although speaking is effortless after treatment, the person’s voice may remain very soft over a period ranging from weeks to months.
Voice amplifiers designed to magnify very soft speech may be an advantage for managing the post treatment phase of the cycle of treatment for people living with spasmodic dysphonia. At the recommendation of my treating speech pathologist following a needs assessment, I trialed several brand names of voice amplifiers with a selection of microphone systems. For my personal needs, trialing several systems has been most beneficial. Together with my treating speech pathologist we have made a decision on the machine most suitable for my needs. For some people, funding is available to purchase the appropriate communication aid through the Queensland Government’s Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS). There are eligibility criteria to meet before being able to access the MASS in the Australian State of Queensland.
Browsing through the links in this article may assist you in tracking communication aids suitable for your needs or for someone known to you. Alternatively, your family doctor, speech pathologist or nearest Community Health Centre may be able to assist you.
Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.