Problems w|th speech

by Diane
(United States)



QUESTION:
Recently I have been having problems trying to speak. It seems that when I try to speak the words will not come out. I feel short of breath. Do you have any suggestions? Does anyone else have this problem and how do you deal with it?


REPLY:
Hi Diane,
Speech problems are a symptom of MS. Cir doesn't have this problem - at least not to where it bothers him all of the time. Every once in a while, he will say something about it, and because I'm so used to hearing him, I don't even notice it that much.

He has friends, however, who do have speech problems and their problem is severe. One young lady likes to call him because he is patient with her and takes the time to listen to what she has to say no matter how long it takes for her to get it out.

She stutters and slurs her words, making it very difficult to understand her. She complains that others can't or won't try to figure out what she's saying and try to rush her or correct her.

Another way of describing it is called "scanning". This involves extra long pauses between words or even between the syllables of words. The slurring of words can come from a weak tongue, lip, or mouth muscles. All these are a result of the nerves to these parts of your body being damaged by MS.

I'm not sure about what can be done other than maybe speech therapy to help you improve your speech patterns. They may give you speech exercises to help you enunciate better or just ideas like slowing down and taking your time when you are speaking.

Another symptom which seems to go hand in hand with speech problems is swallowing problems. Both of these can stem from the same nerves in the brain.

Should this symptom (speech) progress to the point where a person cannot speek, there are assistive devices available to help. I know that is not where you are and hopefully you will not progress to that point.

Cir has occasional problems when he is tired or experiencing a relapse. Other than those times, this symptom is not that much of a problem for him.

Hope this helps,

Akrista


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