Why aren’t you being told about voice therapy successes for Spasmodic Dysphonia?

At the Pacific Voice Conference in San Francisco on Oct 11-13, 1991, Herbert Dedo, M.D., Krzysztoi Izdebski, and Ph.D. Dan Boone, Ph.D., among others, denied there is success for spastic dysphonia (SD) by voice therapy.

In the November 1991 issue of Our Voice, Midge Kovacs, Managing Editor, referring to the above conference, reiterated:

“Comments from the audience and the panel suggested, once again, that at the present there is no cure for SD…”

I, a member of the audience, told each at the time they stated that position, I disagreed. I have had successes with spastic dysphonia and spasmodic dysphonia (SD) for 20 years.

Of interest is that Dan Boone, Ph.D, was the Chairperson at my presentation at the ASHA Convention in Los Vegas in 1973 where I presented “before and after” tapes of recovered spastic and spasmodic dysphonia patients by Direct Voice Rehabilitation.

Arnold Aronson, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic, at the above mentioned conference, was kind enough to state he believes I have had success with SD by Direct Voice Rehabilitation (DVR).

In 1980 in the Proceedings of the 18th Congress of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, I reported on nine patients who had recovered from SD by DVR and five patients who were recovering.

One patient, Dr. D., who discussed his voice problem at this meeting, fully recovered his voice the next year. But Herbert Dedo, M.D., in the April 1991 issue of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, writes:

Regarding need, many otolaryngologists, voice therapists, neurologists, and psychiatrists, after correctly diagnosing a case of SD, still are unaware that it is not curable (i.e., spasticity is not eliminated) with voice therapy… (pg. 277)

In 1982, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Hospital, Los Angeles, I presented three patients who had confirmed severe SD to an audience of Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors. These patients told the audience how they had recovered their speaking voices by DVR.

Henry J. Rubin, Associate Professor, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, UCLA School of Medicine, Retired, and Former Chief of the Service of Otolaryngology, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Los Angeles, asked after the presentation: “We know that you are the only one successful by speech therapy, Why?” The answer is, “I do not do speech therapy; I do DVR.”

Dr. Rubin commented in 1990:

In the fifteen years immediately preceding my retirement from the active practice of otolaryngology, I referred my patients in need of voice rehabilitation to Dr. Cooper because his results proved to be the most consistently satisfactory. His methods seemed essentially to be quite simple, in fact to the point sometimes of challenging believability, but they worked… I believe that any voice therapist who gives them a serious and unbiased trial will be agreeably surprised.

But Herbert Dedo, M.D., in the above mentioned journal, writes:

The only effective treatment at the present time is paralysis of one vocal cord temporarily with botulin injection or permanently with left RLN section… (pg. 278)

In 1990, I was again invited to return as a guest speaker at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. This time I presented live patients with diagnosed SD and discussed how I had helped them with DVR.

Regarding the treatment of SD by DVR in patients seen in his private practice group, a very prominent otolaryngologist, Edward A. Kantor, M.D., Chairman, Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, had this to say:

“Dr. Morton Cooper has shown unusual expertise in treating patients with SD. His methods of voice therapy in our patients afflicted with this markedly disabling disease have been highly successful.”

Over the past fifteen years, I have been to meetings of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, presenting with tapes or with actual patients the recovery from SD by DVR.

People come from all over the world for my help in resolving SD. A professor came from the Middle East, having been directed by a medical doctor in the United States, on an Rx form, to “chew on a golf ball.” By DVR, the patient recovered in a year. I have received yearly reports from him; he has retained a normal voice for the past fifteen years.

Jim Johnson, a minister from the Mid-West, having had severe SD for almost nine years and trying all kinds of therapy unsuccessfully (even going to the Mayo Clinic), is now talking with a normal voice; he underwent an intensive daily one month program of DVR with me. He says his voice recovery is a miracle; his voice remains excellent after five years.

I have found that SD isn’t hopeless and that it has had an excellent prognosis in my office. My techniques differ from those of my colleagues, and I am sharply critical of what some of my colleagues and medical associates do for SD.

Patients with SD are usually not given options to surgery and botulinum injection. The downside of these procedures, I rind, is not presented to these patients. DVR is a holistic, conservative, non-risk, non-invasive and natural way of helping those with SD, and patients should be given this as an alternative approach. Are the medical doctors and the speech pathology associations playing the politics of voice?

In 1973 in my textbook, Modern Techniques of Vocal Rehabilitation, I wrote about recovery from spasmodic dysphonia. In my two most recent books, Change Your Voice, Change Your Life and Winning With Your Voice, I discuss the way to get a better, more effective voice and I detail how those suffering from spasmodic dysphonia have been helped by my Direct Voice Rehabilitation program.


Mort Cooper
Morton Cooper, Ph.D., Speech Pathologist