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Speech-Language Pathology, Adults

My grandfather has Parkinson’s disease and he has become very hard to understand...

Question: My grandfather has Parkinson’s disease and he has become very hard to understand as his voice has become very soft. Is there anything he can do to get his voice back?

Answer: Voice difficulties are very common for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Speech therapy helps increase the person’s awareness of their voice, teach them speaking strategies, breathing strategies, and voice exercises to improve their speech clarity. 

Parkinson's disease can affect speech in several ways. People with Parkinson’s disease may speak quietly and in one tone, sound breathy or hoarse, slur words, and mumble or trail off at the end of a sentence. Most people talk slowly, but some speak rapidly, even stuttering or stammering.  Speech therapy helps increase patient’s awareness of these speech characteristics, teach them speaking strategies, breathing strategies and voice exercises to improve their speech clarity. In severe cases, communication devices, which enhance or amplify speech, also may be helpful. These include personal microphones, touchpads and gadgets that prompt you to speak up if your voice volume decreases.

I had a stroke about 2 months ago and I’m having trouble finding words...

Question: I had a stroke about 2 months ago and I’m having trouble finding words and my speech still seems jumbled. It gets to be very frustrating, but I thought this would naturally go away with time.  Will speech therapy help?

Answer: Word-finding difficulty is common after a stroke. Speech therapy will help improve communication by working on word-finding activities and give you helpful strategies to use when speaking with others.

I would highly recommend attending speech therapy! The goal of speech and language therapy for individuals who are experiencing word-finding difficulties after experiencing a stroke is to improve communication by restoring as much language as possible, teaching how to compensate for lost language skills and learning other methods of communicating. The speech-language pathologist will use a variety of techniques to improve communication.

I’ve had trouble swallowing for awhile but it seems like it is getting worse...

Question: I’ve had trouble swallowing for awhile but it seems like it is getting worse and worse. Will speech therapy fix my swallow?

Answer: Speech therapy may help strengthen swallowing muscles and give you techniques to try while eating to make it easier/safer to swallow. Please see your doctor if you are experiencing weight loss, choking or vomiting during meals.

I would recommend attending an outpatient speech therapy swallowing consultation. The speech-language pathologist will test out your swallow by trying different liquids and solids at different speeds and amounts. The speech-language pathologist will determine what foods/liquids are safe to have, strategies to use during meals to make swallowing more easy and safe, and may introduce swallowing exercises to increase strength and coordination of swallowing muscles. If you are experiencing weight loss, choking, or regurgitation/vomiting, please see your doctor.