Early symptoms of Parkinson’s: the voice

Parkinson’s disease patients often experience difficulties with their voices: modulations in the speech change and the voice can get a bit breathy. On the occasion of the 4th i-PROGNOSIS consortium meeting, Prof. Julia Johnson, Clinical Lead Speech and Language therapist at the Kings College Hospital gave a presentation about voice and swallowing-related symptoms of Parkinson’s.

With PD, voice volume can drop to a lower level of decibels. Some people may develop a stammer, speech may become much more rushed, etc. If tongue gets tremulous, articulation in the mouth gets difficult and people with PD are not able to speak as clearly as they used to. Vocal symptoms are the most prominent at very early stages. Yet, at the very early stages of the disease, symptoms rarely noticed by the patients themselves but families report having troubles understanding their relative.

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