Speech and Communications

Speech difficulties are common in MS and especially in people with advanced disease. Speech difficulties result from damage to areas of the brain that control language, speech production, swallowing, breathing, and cognition, and range from mild difficulties to severe problems that make it difficult to speak and be understood. Speech problems can be very isolating and extremely frustrating for Care Givers.

This section offers guidance on maximizing the ways you and your loved one can continue to communicate.

What types of speech problems do people with MS experience?

One pattern of speech dysfunction commonly associated with MS is scanning speech, in which there are long pauses between words or syllables of words. People with MS may also slur words intermittently as the result of weak tongue, lip, and mouth muscles.

Dysarthria is the term that describes a disorder characterised by slurred speech, abnormal rate of speech, and low voice. The cause of dysarthria is weakness, in-coordination of the speech muscles, and in-coordination of breathing and sound production.

What are the most common manifestations of speech problems?

  • Slurred speech
  • Mispronunciation of words
  • Slowed speech 
  • Low voice
  • Monotonous (dull) voice 
  • Inability to complete words

 Read more about speech and communication.

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