Speech and voice problems may be one of the daily challenges you face with multiple sclerosis. If any of the five systems necessary to speech and voice production are hindered due to lesions on your brain then you could experience:
Harsh voice Scratchy voice Slurred speech Tremor in pitch Variable breath control
In Living With Multiple Sclerosis, Catanzaro and Kraft give a comprehensive explanation of speech and voice issues:
"The most common cause of speech problems in MS is due to an impairment in the muscles that are needed for speaking. Speech may become slurred and difficult to understand. Speech therapists use a variety of techniques that may improve communication, although the problem cannot be cured.
Another problem arises when chest muscles are weak and the person's voice is soft because he cannot get enough air behind it. Personal amplifier systems are inexpensive and work well to overcome this problem"
Some of the treatments that a speech/language pathologist or an ENT (ear, nose, and throat physician) might recommend are:
Monitoring your own voice with a recorder and practicing vocalization Exercising the body parts necessary to speak, including lips, tongue, soft palate, vocal chords, and diaphragm Using a communication device (e.g., personal amplifier)
Updated: February 11, 2004