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Angela Roberts MA-SLP, PhD, CASLPO-Reg./SLP Assistant Professor, Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois, USA and Adjunct Research Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
About 75 percent of people with PD experience changes in speech and voice at some time during the course of the disease.
These changes usually come on gradually and can vary from mild to severe. Communication is a vital part of daily life and extends beyond speech and voice abilities. It also includes the ability to formulate your ideas into a message; understand messages and words conveyed by others; and the ability to put your ideas into words.
Communication also includes the ability to use body language, gestures and voice pitch/loudness changes to emphasize ideas, add humor and convey emotions. Problems communicating can lead to feelings of frustration, depression and withdrawal. Learning how PD affects communication and what you can do about it can help you better cope with problems that you might experience.
Many of these problem areas can be improved with PD-specific exercise programs, devices that help communication and strategies/techniques that can help you and your conversation partners to communicate more effectively and efficiently.
For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Importance of Early Detection of Swallowing Disturbances.”