Clinical Characteristics of Voice, Speech, and Swallowing Disorders in Oromandibular Dystonia

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2016 Oct 1;59(5):940-949. doi: 10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-15-0169.


Purpose: To better define the clinical characteristics of idiopathic oromandibular dystonia, we studied voice, speech, and swallowing disorders and their impact on activities of daily living.

Method: Fourteen consecutive patients with idiopathic oromandibular dystonia and 14 matched, healthy control subjects were included in the study.

Results: Dysarthria was the most common disorder and its characteristics varied from one patient to another. However, we frequently observed a hyperkinetic, dysarthric profile characterized by imprecise consonants, a rough voice, changes in intensity, and hypernasality. Dysphagia appeared to be slightly less frequent and less disabling than dysarthria. Most patients had difficulty swallowing solids, and the oral phase was particularly problematic. Dysarthria and dysphagia affected activities of daily living in general and the psychological/emotional domain in particular.

Conclusions: The characteristics of dysarthria in oromandibular dystonia vary significantly from one patient to another due to differences in the set of affected muscles, so each patient should receive a personalized rehabilitation program. Dysarthria was the most prominent symptom, although spasmodic dysphonia was more frequent than expected. Further laboratory-based studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms and consequences of dysphagia in oromandibular dystonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Dysarthria / etiology
  • Dysarthria / physiopathology*
  • Dystonia / complications
  • Dystonia / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Speech
  • Voice
  • Voice Disorders / etiology
  • Voice Disorders / physiopathology*