He has been diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare condition that is absolutely baffling to me. As I understand it, the condition is caused by spasms of the vocal cords which cause interruptions in speech or diminished speech quality. (Specifically, it may cause jerky, quivery, hoarse, tight, or groaning voice. Periods of no sound (aphonia) in the voice may also occur.)
The most fascinating part? Symptoms sometimes improve or disappear when an individual does the following:
For more information, please refer to the NSDA (National Spadmodic Dysphonia Association) or the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) web sites.
(Maybe our good friend Liz, the speech pathologist, can chime in with more information.)