Vocal Tremor

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UT Southwestern Medical Center is home to the Voice Center, with specialists focused on all aspects of care for people with voice disorders. Our laryngologist and speech-language pathologists have extensive expertise in diagnosis and treatment for vocal tremor and other conditions affecting the vocal cords.

Janis Deane, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, performs acoustic studies on a patient with vocal tremor.

Specialized Care for Vocal Tremor

Vocal tremor is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary movement of muscles in the throat, larynx (voice box), and vocal cords. The condition usually involves rhythmic muscle movements, which can cause quavering of the voice.

The multidisciplinary team at UT Southwestern’s Voice Center brings together expertise from fellowship-trained laryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors with specialized training in disorders of the larynx), speech-language pathologists with training specifically in voice care, and other voice care specialists. We’re dedicated to comprehensive care, using the latest advancements to diagnose, treat, and manage voice disorders such as vocal tremor.

Causes of Vocal Tremor

Voice tremor is a type of neurologic voice disorder. The condition typically affects people beginning in their 50s or 60s.

Symptoms of Vocal Tremor

Signs and symptoms of vocal tremor include:

  • Changes in volume and/or pitch
  • Interruptions in sound production
  • Shaky voice

Diagnosis of Vocal Tremor

Our voice care team at UT Southwestern includes fellowship-trained laryngologists and speech-language pathologists who conduct a thorough evaluation, including a:

  • Physical exam, with an inspection of the vocal cords
  • Review of personal medical history
  • Discussion of symptoms

Patients often need one or more additional tests, such as a:

  • Laryngoscopy: An exam using a narrow tube, either flexible or rigid, with a light and camera, inserted through the nose
  • Videostroboscopy: A telescope-like camera with a flashing light that provides a magnified, slow-motion view of the vocal cords as they vibrate
  • Sound (acoustic) analysis: Computer analysis that identifies abnormalities in the sounds produced by the vocal cords

Treatment for Vocal Tremor

Although voice tremor has no cure, treatments can help relieve symptoms. The Voice Center team offers treatment options such as:

  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to stabilize the tremor for lower-effort voicing with reduced tremor
  • Voice therapy (performed by a speech-language pathologist) to improve vocal clarity and stamina
  • Medications (often coordinated by our movement disorder neurology team) used as an adjunct to help control tremor for smoother voice production

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