Vocal fry dysphonia is an abnormal production of voice during speaking, generating vocal fry (“pulse register”) phonation with only the true vocal cords. The voice quality from vocal fry phonation tends to be rough, very low-pitched, “gritty,” and monotonal. A typical pitch at which vocal fry occurs is around E2 (~82 Hz) or lower, and airflow required for vocal fry is minimal. An individual with vocal fry dysphonia cannot maintain vocal fry (that is, will move to more normal voice production) if asked to project the voice, or to raise pitch even a few semi-tones.

The only disorder occasionally confused with vocal fry dysphonia is false vocal cord phonation. Vocal fry dysphonia (when functional rather than the result of a disorder such as Parkinson’s disease) is most often seen in individuals from the “underdoer” end of the vocal “overdoer-underdoer” spectrum.

For those who desire treatment, speech/voice therapy is the course to take. The individual must first develop the ability to identify normal and abnormal pitch and quality, and then adopt a higher pitch and a bit more vocal vitality, with strategies such as imagining that they are “reading to children.”