Dysarthria - speech impairment

Dysarthria means that articulation is difficult. This may be due to coordination problems or muscle paralysis around the mouth.

Dysarthria may occur as a symptom in specific neurological disorders such as, for example, a cerebrovascular accident (CVA, more commonly known as stroke), a brain tumor, a brain injury as a result of a (traffic) accident, or a disease, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS ), Parkinson's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
A dysarthria may arise suddenly (for example, after a stroke), or gradually, in the case of a progressive disease.

The muscles of the lips, tongue, palate and vocal cords cannot be used properly. Talking is unclear, monotonous, nasal and voice production is weak.
One speaks with irregular intervals. In short, there is little control when speaking.
Aphasia and dysarthria may co-occur in a single patient making it more difficult for his rehabilitation, but in most cases where pure aphasia condition occurs, patients are generally very well articulated compared to a dysarthria patients where their speech will always be distorted.


Characteristics of dysarthria

  • Unclear, unintelligible speech
  • Change in the rate of speech, the person is going to talk more quickly or speaks very slowly and carefully
  • Monotonous voice: no emphasis
  • Voice is too high or too low
  • The voice may sound hoarse or very soft
  • Superficial and feeble respiration or very audible breathing in and out
  • Accidental repetition of syllables, syllables or phrases (not to be confused with stuttering)
  • The speech may sound stuttering by pronouncing syllables separately or the syllables may overlap



Brain areas involved in dysarthria

Dysarthria is caused by weakness of the muscles required for speech. The brain areas responsible for the control of muscles and movements may also be affected. Possible areas involved are, for example, the motor bark, the substantia nigra or the cerebellum. Sometimes the cause of the problem is also in the connection between brain cells and the muscles.


Tips for dysarthria

Before applying the tips, it is important to have a clear idea of the exact problem. For example, if you suffer from talking too fast, you can work on talking slower.

  • Help from a speech therapist can be very helpful
  • Try to move your lips and tongue more
  • Try to speak clearly
  • Use your breathing to get your speech clearer
  • Try to think of other forms of communication, such as using gestures or computers
  • (for family and friends) give the person who is talking the time and ask for clarification if you don't understand what the person means.