Speech Problems in Multiple Sclerosis | MS Association of America
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Home > About MS > What are the Symptoms of MS? > Speech Difficulties
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Speech Difficulties

The most common speech problems seen in MS are dysarthria and dysphonia. Dysarthria involves speech that is slurred or poorly articulated; it can involve a loss of volume control, unnatural emphasis on words or sentences, and a slower rate of speaking. Dysphonia results in changes in the quality of speech, such as a breathless quality to the voice, or speech that sounds harsh.

A speech therapist can help with exercises and adaptive equipment, depending on the type of problem you are experiencing.

Non-Pharmacologic Management


Some exercises can strengthen and improve the muscles involved in the production of speech, or improve breathing through relaxation of the affected muscles.

Modifying Speech Patterns

A speech language therapist can teach techniques to help slow speech so that it is more understandable, as well as techniques such as improving the way words are articulated and correctly pausing between words. One technique that is particularly helpful is to listen to your own voice using a tape recorder.

Alternative Speech Production

When speech difficulties are severe and cannot be corrected with exercise or speech modification, alternative means of speech production can restore the ability to communicate. These range from technology that amplifies the voice, to alternative communication systems such as computer boards.

Pharmacologic Management

No medications can specifically improve speech difficulties. However, medications that relieve symptoms such as spasticity may provide some improvement.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:06