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Natalia Rost, MD, Neurology, answeredA speech-language pathologist helps you improve your capacity to speak and understand speech. If your stroke has caused a speech or language disorder, you should also have a hearing evaluation to make sure your communication difficulties stem from damage to the language centers of the brain and not from hearing loss. A speech and language pathologist will also work with people who have lost some ability to swallow and other oral-motor skills. About 45% of stroke patients have difficulty swallowing fluids or food.