Voice changes in Parkinson's disease: What are they telling us?

Andrew Ma, Kenneth K. Lau, Dominic Thyagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging evidence suggests voice dysfunction is the earliest sign of motor impairment in Parkinson's disease (PD). The complexity and fine motor control involved in vocalization may result in dysfunction here before the limbs. The voice in PD demonstrates characteristic changes on perceptual and acoustic analyses. The physiological and anatomical correlates of these have been investigated through laryngoscopy, stroboscopy, photoglottography, laryngeal electromyography, computed-tomography, pulmonary function testing and aerodynamic assessments. These have revealed numerous abnormalities including incomplete glottic closure and vocal fold hypoadduction/bowing to account for these voice changes. Many of these phenomena are likely related to rigidity or bradykinesia of the laryngeal muscles. The early onset of voice changes is resonant with the pathophysiological insights offered by Braak's hypothesis and murine models of the disease. These physiological abnormalities and pathological models largely stand to support dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic mechanisms being implicated in the pathogenesis of voice dysfunction. This review focuses on characterizing the voice changes in PD. These stand as a promising area of enquiry to further our understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease and offer potential to be utilized as an early diagnostic biomarker or marker of disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Hypokinetic dysarthria
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Speech disorders
  • Voice
  • Voice changes

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