What are Vocal Tremors and Spasms?

Vocal tremors and spasms manifest as involuntary movements or shaking of the vocal cords, larynx, or related muscles during speech production. They can vary in severity and frequency, ranging from mild fluctuations in voice pitch to severe spasms that disrupt communication.

What Causes Vocal Tremors and Spasms?

Muscle Overuse:

Vocal tremors and spasms can sometimes occur due to overuse of the muscles involved in vocalization, particularly in individuals who strain their voices frequently, such as singers or public speakers.

Neurological Conditions:

Various neurological conditions contribute to vocal tremors and spasms. These may include dystonia, a disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, as well as conditions affecting the nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

Psychological Factors:

Emotional stress, anxiety, or psychological conditions like panic disorder can exacerbate vocal tremors and spasms in some individuals. Stress and anxiety can lead to muscle tension, affecting vocal cord function and contributing to tremors.

Medication Side Effects:

Certain medications, particularly those that affect the central nervous system, may have side effects, including vocal tremors and spasms. These medications may interfere with the normal functioning of the muscles involved in voice production.

Voice Misuse or Abuse:

Prolonged or improper use of the voice, such as speaking loudly for extended periods, singing, shouting, or speaking with incorrect vocal techniques, can strain the vocal cords and lead to tremors and spasms over time.

Other Medical Conditions:

Various medical conditions unrelated to the vocal cords or nervous system can indirectly contribute to vocal tremors and spasms. These may include acid reflux, thyroid disorders, or respiratory conditions that affect breathing and vocalization.

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What Are the Symptoms?

Common symptoms of vocal tremors and spasms include:

  • A shaky or wavering voice
  • Difficulty controlling voice pitch or volume
  • Vocal fatigue or strain
  • Vocal breaks or interruptions during speech
  • Muscle tension or tightness in the throat or neck
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How Are Vocal Tremors and Spasms Diagnosed?

Diagnosing vocal tremors and spasms involves a comprehensive evaluation by our otolaryngologist or a speech-language pathologist. The evaluation may include a thorough medical history review, voice assessment, laryngeal examination (laryngoscopy), imaging studies, or neurological testing to rule out underlying conditions.

What Treatments Can Help Resolve Vocal Tremors or Spasms?

Treatment for vocal tremors and spasms depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. Options may include:

Voice therapy:

Techniques to improve vocal coordination, reduce muscle tension, and enhance breath support can help manage symptoms and improve voice quality.


Certain medications, such as muscle relaxants or anticholinergics, may be prescribed to alleviate muscle spasms and tremors.

BOTOX® injections:

Botulinum toxin injections directly into the affected muscles can temporarily weaken muscle contractions and reduce vocal tremors and spasms.

Surgical interventions:

In severe cases or when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical procedures such as selective denervation or nerve stimulation may be considered to modulate nerve signals and control muscle activity.

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Why Choose Southern ENT Associates for Vocal Tremor and Spasm Management?

At Southern ENT Associates, a team of experienced otolaryngologists, speech-language pathologists, and other specialists collaborate to provide comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plans for vocal tremors and spasms. With state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and advanced therapeutic techniques, we are dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal vocal health and function.

Vocal Tremors & Spasms FAQ

What are the symptoms of vocal tremors and spasms?

Vocal tremors and spasms may manifest as involuntary shaking or quivering of the voice, difficulty controlling pitch or volume, interruptions in speech flow, and a feeling of vocal strain or tension.

How are vocal tremors and spasms diagnosed?

Diagnosis typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by an otolaryngologist or speech-language pathologist. The tests may include a physical examination, assessment of voice quality and function, and, in some cases, imaging studies or laryngoscopy to visualize the vocal cords.

What treatments are available for vocal tremors and spasms?

Treatment options may include voice therapy to improve vocal technique and reduce muscle tension, medications to manage underlying neurological or psychological conditions, botulinum toxin injections to temporarily paralyze overactive muscles, and surgical interventions such as nerve procedures or vocal cord surgery in severe cases.

Can stress or anxiety worsen vocal tremors and spasms?

Yes, emotional stress and anxiety can exacerbate vocal tremors and spasms in some individuals by increasing muscle tension and affecting vocal cord function. Learning stress management techniques and relaxation exercises may help alleviate symptoms.

Will vocal tremors and spasms last a lifetime?

The prognosis for vocal tremors and spasms varies depending on the underlying cause and the effectiveness of treatment. With appropriate management, many individuals experience significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of voice. However, some cases may require ongoing therapy or intervention to manage symptoms effectively.

With 6 convenient locations in Southern Louisiana, we make accessing the treatment you need easy.

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