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Muscle Tension Dysphonia | Severe Vocal Fold Constriction

Muscle Tension Dysphonia and Vocal Fold Constriction

Many of us take singing for granted. We open our mouths and, for the most part, enjoy the physical sensations we receive from our singing. Sadly, though, this is not always the case. For some singers the process of singing has become a nightmare of tension and vocal strangulation. And so today we’re going to talk about Muscle Tension Dysphonia and Vocal Fold Constriction.

Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD) is an extreme case of constriction, often both inside and outside the larynx. It differs from the garden variety vocal fold constriction because the muscles are generally constricting in an involuntary manner; even though the voice user is doing all they can to not activate any extreme muscle response. This condition can be very frustrating and upsetting because it leads to high levels of vocal fatigue along with a high sense of vocal discomfort.

MTD will often leave the voice sounding hoarse and feeling dry. The reason for this is the imbalance of the muscle activity in relation to the sound making task. When a person is suffering from MTD their vocal folds overexert and tire quickly. The tired voice then calls upon other muscles, either intrinsic or extrinsic, to lend a hand in the sound making. The snow ball effect, everything just gets tighter and tighter and tighter until, in the severe cases, the voice user can feel like they are being strangled each and every time they speak or sing.

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