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The Speech and Swallowing Problems of Multiple Sclerosis

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What Types of Speech Problems Come With Multiple Sclerosis?

One pattern of speech that is commonly associated with multiple sclerosis is called "scanning" speech. This type of speech produces speech in which the normal "melody" or speech pattern is disrupted, with abnormally long pauses between words or individual syllables of words.

People with MS may also slur words. This is usually the result of weak tongue, lip, and mouth muscles. Other speech problems include explosive dysarthria, or nasal speech, which sounds as though the person has a cold or nasal obstruction.

How Are Speech Problems Diagnosed and Treated in Multiple Sclerosis?

A speech/language pathologist or speech/language therapist help people with multiple sclerosis improve speech patterns, enunciation, and oral communication in general.

If a person with MS becomes unable to speak, there are many assistive devices available. These range from alphabet cards to hand-held communicators that print out a tape to computers that respond to eye blinks.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on August 30, 2012
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