Regarding Us

A Statement From The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

April 1, 2019

(Rockville, MD) A horror movie is far from the ideal way to depict a voice disorder that in reality can make life very difficult for those living with the condition.

Yet, in Us, currently one of the most popular movies in the country, a very scary character has a voice that has many characteristics of spasmodic dysphonia (SD), a neurological disorder that affects the voice.

While the film is packing theaters, however, real life holds a story of quiet frustration and heartbreak.

Every day, people living with SD find themselves being unfairly defined and marginalized by the condition, which can take away the ability to speak. You "become invisible" is the way one person describes what happens.

As Us plays on, it seems most appropriate to use the popularity of the movie as an opportunity to tell the real story—to put those who have SD in a true informative light that is accessible rather than frightening.

That story can begin by sharing information—describing SD and stating where people with the condition and their significant others can find resources to manage it—along with underscoring the importance of seeking professional help at the first sign of a voice problem (speech-language pathologists and otolaryngologists are health professionals who can assess and manage SD). Interested parties are welcome to contact ASHA 1-800-638-8255.

Such steps stand the best chance of reducing the number of people who are left cut off and feeling invisible for having a serious health condition that affects their voice.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 204,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

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