Speech Dysfunctions In Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disorder is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system which affects the speech, motor skills and other functions. The characteristics of this disorder are tremor, muscle rigidity, slow physical movement (Bradykinesia) and a complete loss of physical movement (akanesia) in extreme conditions. It is both progressive and chronic. The primary symptoms are exhibited when stimulation of the motor cortex by basal ganglia decreases as dopamine levels reduce.
Parkinson’s disease generally impairs the patients speech and it is one of the worst symptoms of the disease. For these patients, it becomes harder as they feel they have some sort of dementia. It is important to consider that a Parkinson’s patient can hear himself just fine.
An estimation has been made that 65-90% of PD patients will gradually have some form of speech trouble. This problems will manifest either into monotonous speech or nonsensical gibberish.
Dysarthria is another form of speech disorder associated with PD. It shows itself in ways as soft spoken, slow or incoherent speech. Eventually speech becomes unintelligible as both the pitch and volume gets affected by dysarthria. It is mainly caused by weakening of the speech muscles which gets worsened due to Parkinson’s condition. Severity varies from one patient to another patient.
Speech therapy can effectively help some patients who suffer from this problem. If speech therapy is carefully introduced in sync with medication extremely good results can be achieved. To improve the vocal chords and muscles of these Parkinson’s patients, regular voice exercises are recommended which can work wonders.
Regardless of the therapy used, a Parkinson’s disease patient suffering from speech dysfunctions should be treated with patience and consideration. It can get frustrating at times but respect and patience must win out.
We should keep in mind that Parkinson’s steals the patients identity. To make the situation worse, it can also steal a person’s ability to communicate which makes it more horrendous!