What is dysarthria?

Dysarthria is a speech disorder caused by muscle weakness. It can make it hard for you to talk. People may have trouble understanding what you say.

What causes dysarthria?

Muscles used for speech are controlled by the brain and nervous system and can develop from brain damage either before or during birth, such as with cerebral palsy or later in life, such as damage caused by a stroke, severe head injury or brain tumour, or a progressive condition such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease.

Signs and symptoms of dysarthria

Signs and symptoms of dysarthria include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Slow speech
  • Inability to speak louder than a whisper or speaking too loudly
  • Rapid speech that is difficult to understand
  • Nasal, raspy or strained voice
  • Uneven or abnormal speech rhythm
  • Uneven speech volume
  • Monotone speech
  • Difficulty moving your tongue or facial muscles

Treatment for dysarthria

Depending on the type and severity of dysarthria, treatment may include:

  • slowing down speech
  • using more breath to speak louder
  • making mouth muscles stronger
  • moving lips and tongue more
  • saying sounds clearly in words and sentences
  • Using augmentation devices and/or other means of communication

An important component of this is to help individuals around the individual to better understand and communicate.

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