Kentucky Education Commissioner Diagnosed with Vocal Disorder

Apr 17, 2013

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

The Commissioner of Education in Kentucky has been diagnosed with a neurological voice disorder that’s limiting his ability to talk normally. Dr. Terry Holliday started noticing symptoms last September, and by December his voice had dramatically deteriorated. 

After ruling out cancer, Holliday made appointments with several specialists.

“I’ve been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, which is basically your vocal cords freeze up," Holliday said.

A cause of the condition is unknown but fortunately it’s not life-threatening. Spasmodic dysphonia is the  same disorder that affects public radio host Diane Rehm.

Holliday will require regular treatments, but he’s keeping in good spirits.

“I can sing, and that’s one of the reasons they think it’s spasmodic dysphonia. But I can’t go through life singing my speeches.”

Holliday visits Vanderbilt University on Thursday for a Botox injection into his vocal cords and hopes to be sounding closer to normal within a couple of weeks.