Dysarthria is a condition in which you have difficulty controlling or coordinating the muscles you use when you speak, or weakness of those muscles. Dysarthria often is characterized by slurred or slow speech that can be difficult to understand.

Common causes of dysarthria include nervous system (neurological) disorders such as stroke, brain injury, brain tumors, and conditions that cause facial paralysis or tongue or throat muscle weakness. Dysarthria may also be caused by certain medications.

Dysarthria treatment is directed at treating the underlying cause of your condition when possible, which may improve your speech. You may have speech therapy, which often helps people with dysarthria improve their speech. If dysarthria is caused by prescription medications, changing or discontinuing your medications may help.

Symptoms Causes Complications

Signs and symptoms of dysarthria vary, depending on the underlying cause, and may include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Slow rate of speech
  • Inability to speak louder than a whisper
  • Rapid rate of speech that is difficult to understand
  • Nasal, raspy or strained voice quality
  • Uneven or abnormal rhythm of speech
  • Uneven volume of speech
  • Monotone speech
  • Difficulty moving your tongue or facial muscles
  • Drooling

When to see a doctor

Dysarthria can be sign of a serious underlying condition. See your doctor if you experience sudden or unexplained changes in your ability to speak clearly.

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