Current knowledge, controversies and future directions in hyperfunctional voice disorders Academic Article uri icon


  • Taking the preceding five papers in this special issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology as a starting point, this paper synthesizes key aspects of hyperfunctional voice disorders (HFVD). Aetiological and contributing factors, defining features, prevention, assessment and intervention are canvassed, while controversial issues and future directions in research and clinical practice are discussed. Despite disagreements and inconsistencies in terminology surrounding HFVD, there is broad agreement that musculoskeletal tension is the hallmark of these voice disorders. There is also reasonable consensus that the pathogenesis and persistence of HFVD are associated with multiple and overlapping factors, some of which are likely to interact in as yet unknown ways. In addition to dysregulated laryngeal muscle functioning, key processes in the psychosocial and sensory domains are canvassed as likely contributors to HFVD. Vocal fatigue is considered as an intriguing relative of HFVD, the role of laryngopharyngeal reflux is debated and the proposition that particular individuals are psychologically and/or physiologically predisposed to HFVD is discussed. New directions in assessment highlight the use of client-centred measures to consider insider perspectives of psychological factors, vocal effort and vocal fatigue. Emerging psychosocial and physical-manipulative interventions are emphasized and the future educational needs of voice care professionals are considered.

publication date

  • January 2008