Symptoms & Signs
Depending on its cause, dysarthria may develop slowly or occur suddenly.
People with dysarthria have trouble making certain sounds or words.
Their speech is poorly pronounced (such as slurring), and the rhythm or speed of their speech changes. Other symptoms include:
- Sounding as though they are mumbling
- Speaking softly or in a whisper
- Speaking in a nasal or stuffy, hoarse, strained, or breathy voice
A person with dysarthria may also drool and have problems chewing or swallowing. It may be difficult to move the lips, tongue, or jaw.
Diagnosis & Tests
The health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Family and friends may need to help with the medical history.
The physician may perform a laryngoscopy. In this test, a flexible viewing tube called a laryngoscope is placed in the mouth and throat to view the voice box.
Tests that may be performed if the cause of the dysarthria is unknown include:
- Blood tests for toxins or vitamin levels
- Imaging tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan of the brain or neck
- Nerve conduction studies and electromyogram to check the electrical function of the nerves or muscles
Dysarthria : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Dysarthria : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests
Dysarthria : Treatment
Review Date : 7/10/2009
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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