What is Spasmodic Dysphonia?

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD), a focal form of dystonia, is a neurological voice disorder that involves "spasms" of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the voice quality. SD can cause the voice to break up or to have a tight, strained, or strangled quality.

NSDA news

Register Now for Upcoming Educational Conferences

Registration is now open for the NSDA Educational Conferences to be held in Scottsdale, AZ, on October 16, 2016, and in Philadelphia, PA, on November 5. Similar to our symposiums, these events will host leading experts in the field of spasmodic dysphonia while providing the opportunity to meet others who share similar experiences More...

Scottsdale, AZ
NSDA Educational Conference - West
October 16, 2016
Click here to register!

The meeting will be held at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley - Scottsdale at 5401 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

Confirmed speakers include (in alphabetical order):

  • Stephen Bansberg, M.D. 
  • Joel Blumin, M.D. 
  • Lisa Crujido, M.S. CCC 
  • David Lott, M.D. 

A special hotel room rate of $149 plus tax is available. Please click here to make a hotel reservation listed under the Fall Voice Conference). The room rate is available until September 13th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.

Philadelphia, PA
NSDA Educational Conference - East
November 5, 2016
Click here to register!

The meeting will be held at the Hampton Inn Philadelphia Convention Center which is located at 1301 Race Street in Philadelphia, PA. 

Confirmed speakers include (in alphabetical order):


  • Yolanda Heman-Ackah, M.D. 
  • Amanda Hu, M.D. 
  • Kevin Leahy, MD, Ph.D. 
  • Bridget Rose, MM, MS, CCC-SLP 
  • Joseph Spiegel, M.D. 


Along with presentations on:

  • Mindfulness - Dr. Bidi McSorley 
  • Living with SD Panel 

A special hotel room rate of $149 plus tax is available for this meeting. A link for hotel reservations will be available shortly. The rate is available until October 14th or until the group block is sold-out.

Nashville, TN
NSDA Educational Conference
May 6, 2017


Midwest Educational Conference Recap

The National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association hosted its 2016 Midwest Conference on April 30, 2016 in Des Plaines, IL. Click here to a read of summary of the Conference. Also, recordings of some of the session are available on YouTube by clicking here More...

On Friday evening, prior to the conference, a Welcome Reception provided the opportunity for fellowship and support, when people shared their personal experiences. President Charlie Reavisstarted the program on Saturday morning with an overview of the mission of the NSDA. The first sessions of the Conference focused on the medical aspects of spasmodic dysphonia with Dr. Robert Bastian presenting an overview of the disorder, and Dr. Gerald Berke discussing treatment options. Several researchers, some who are funded by the NSDA, including Drs. Kristina Simonyan, Mo Chen, Michael Hammer, and Rita Patel, shared their different approaches to better understanding spasmodic dysphonia, After lunch, Dr. Laura Froeschke talked about how spasmodic dysphonia can affect your identity, and Speech Language Pathologists Jan Potter Reed and Brienne Ruel provided voice therapy tips and recommendations in break-out sessions. One person commented, "It was great meeting so many people who understood what I was going through and not being embarrassed to speak," and another said "What I enjoyed was the variability of approaches to SD research, various treatment options, and integrating the problems of SD in our lives." Our thanks to all who attended! 

Why Siri and SD are not always Compatible

For many people with spasmodic dysphonia, the phone can be a source of dread, but then add voice recognition programs to it, and the stress level jumps. Freelance writer, Emily Mullin, highlighted these challenges in an article featured in Scientific AmericanMore...

Emily shared, "Having been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia when I was 17, I understand just how frustrating it can be to communicate people using my voice, and interacting with technology can be even more exasperating. These devices are designed to recognize voice patterns and sounds made by the typical user. But speakers with spasmodic dysphonia are not the average user. You may not think you need to use your iPhone's Siri or your smart TV's voice controls, but as technology advances, more and more of our electronic devices, cars and even homes are increasingly relying on voice activation and voice controls. For most people, voice recognition systems offer convenience and freedom from buttons, remotes and keyboards, but for individuals with speech and vocal disabilities like spasmodic dysphonia, this technology can be alienating."Also featured in the article was Dystonia Advocacy Network Chair Emma Mattes. Thank you, Emily, for continuing to raise awareness about spasmodic dysphonia! Click here to read the article

2016 Dot Sowerby Pioneer Award Recipient

Karen Adler Feeley is the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Dot Sowerby Pioneer Award for outstanding individual contribution to the NSDA. As an author, moderator, learning consultant, and support leader, she has generously used her creativity, communication and planning skills to promote education about spasmodic dysphonia. More...

Karen Feeley serves the NSDA as Special Projects Coordinator; is the author of Easier Done than Said: Living with a Broken Voice; has been a presenter at numerous symposiums and Leadership Days. The award was initially announced via phone to Karen by the awards namesake, Dot Sowerby but recently, President Charlie Reavis was able to present it to her in-person(pictured above). Karen shared, "I'm thrilled to receive the award named after such an impressive woman and grateful to all the folks there who do so much to make a difference to so many.

[News Archive]

Listen to Voice Samples

Hear audio clips of spasmodic dysphonia, and read about symptoms and treatments using the interactive device below.

  • abductor
  • adductor
  • other
Previous Next
Previous Next
Previous Next
Meet Our Members
Meet Our Members

The NSDA is a grassroots organization working to improve the lives of people with spasmodic dysphonia. This shines through with our members who share their own experiences and knowledge to empower others with SD.

Our Vision

The vision of the NSDA is to ensure the ongoing viability of the organization that will continue to lead the effort to eradicate spasmodic dysphonia.
NSDA's Core Values

Our Mission

The mission of the NSDA is to advance medical research into the causes of and treatments for spasmodic dysphonia, promote physician and public awareness of the disorder, and provide support to those affected by spasmodic dysphonia.
How Can I Help?

Contact Us

300 Park Boulevard, Suite 335
Itasca, Illinois 60143
Phone: 800-795-6732
Email: nsda@dysphonia.org
Fax: 630-250-4505