A wearable device for treatment for the voice disorder spasmodic dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a voice disorder that leads to strained or choked speech. SD is unresponsive to speech therapy. currently, the primary treatment is Botulinum toxin injection that provides temporary symptom relief.

The preliminary work showed that voice quality in SD improves when vibrotactile stimulation (VTS) is applied to the larynx as a form of non-invasive neuromodulation. What is needed is a wearable device that applies VTS during daily life. This project seeks to design and build such a device and to test it in a sample of patients. For this effort to succeed, the project involves close collaboration between engineers, motor control scientists, and voice disorder clinicians.

The project is supported by the U of M’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)MnDrive Program in Brain Conditioningthe National Science Foundation Innovation Corps, and the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA).