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Decreased Awareness of Speech and Swallow Problems in PD


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#1 Dr. Mahler

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 04:43 PM

One of the interesting aspects of PD is that people are more aware of changes in walking than talking as a result of PD. Damage to the basal ganglia causes changes in motor and sensory systems. Changes in the sensory system can mean that people aren't aware that they are talking softly or need speech therapy. Another reason for this is that the changes in speech happen gradually. People adapt to the changes without thinking there is anything really wrong. A study by Fox and Ramig (1997) showed that people with PD were statistically significantly quieter than healthy aged-matched controls. In addition, people with PD were less likely to be understood in conversation and less likely to initiate conversation. So the next time you feel like telling your wife or husband or caregiver that they need a hearing aid, stop and think about whether it could be that your speech is hard for others to understand.

Speech exercises can help. Contact a speech-language pathologist before the problems are severe. You have important things to say and people need to understand you.

Leslie Mahler, PhD, CCC-SLP
Leslie Mahler, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor

University of Rhode Island

#2 coacht

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for this article. My DW has told me I need a hearing aid, expecially before her meds were changed. She would mumble the last two words of a sentence and then when I asked her to repeat those two words would say the whole sentence and mumble the last two words again. She would become angry when I just couldn't understand those two words. I work with the public every day and even with tinitus I can understand 99% of people. Thanks for the reference.

#3 Dr. Mahler

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

You are very welcome. It is such a "Catch 22" for the person with PD because their perception really is that they are speaking at normal loudness. I had a patient who thought her dog had gone deaf. Then, guess what. After receiving LSVT LOUD, which is designed to teach people to speak at normal loudness, the dog got its hearing back. :-)

Dr. Mahler
Leslie Mahler, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor

University of Rhode Island




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