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Parkinson's Disease and Speech Problems - Topic Overview

Parkinson's disease can affect the muscles of the lips, tongue, throat, voice box (larynx), and lungs, all of which are involved in producing speech. Stiff, slow muscles in these areas may lead to:

  • Low voice volume or soft speech.
  • Imprecise speech sounds.
  • Speaking too fast or too slow.
  • Monotonous voice.
  • Hoarseness.

A speech therapist (also called a speech-language pathologist) can help you learn ways to improve your speech. He or she may provide:

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Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics

Parkinson's disease mostly affects older people but can also occur in younger adults. The symptoms are the result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain that controls body movements. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable -- a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking (tremor) worsens and spreads, muscles become stiffer, movements slow down, and balance and coordination...

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  • Breathing exercises to improve voice volume.
  • Speech exercises to make your sounds clear and precise.
  • Tips to help make your speech rate more regular.
  • Exercises to practice pitch changes when you speak.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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