Question

Living With Multiple Sclerosis

How can multiple sclerosis (MS) affect my speech and swallowing?

A Answers (2)

  • Speech difficulties are common in multiple sclerosis (MS) -- an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system where communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted due to a break down in the insulating myelin that surrounds a person's nerves. Such problems are especially common in people with advanced disease, and can result from damage to areas of the brain that control language, speech production, swallowing, breathing, and cognition. They can range from mild difficulties where the person takes extra long pauses between words or syllables to severe problems that make it difficult to speak and be understood, such as slurred speech.

    Losing the ability to communicate effectively through speech can be devastating for both you and your loved one. Be patient and kind with each other. There are assistive devices that may be helpful, everything from voice amplifiers to alphabet cards to computers.
  • Problems with speech and swallowing seen in multiple sclerosis (MS) aren't all about articulation and aspiration. Some of the most common complaints are choking on food or drink, feeling as if things are not being fully swallowed, or fatigue while eating, and changes in vocal quality, emphasis and pitch.
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