When the speech muscles you utilize are weak or difficult for you to control, you have dysarthria. Speech that is slurred or sluggish due to dysarthria might be challenging to comprehend.

Disorders of the neural system and illnesses that induce facial paralysis, tongue or throat muscular weakness, and nervous system abnormalities are common causes of dysarthria. Dysarthria can also be brought on by several drugs.

Your speech could sound better if the underlying cause of your dysarthria is treated. Furthermore, you could require speech treatment. Changing or stopping prescription medicines may assist with dysarthria brought on by such drugs.

Dysarthria: Causes

You can find it difficult to move the speech-controlling muscles in your lips, face, or upper respiratory system if you have dysarthria. The following conditions can result in dysarthria −

  • Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,

  • Brain damage

  • Brain cancer

  • Spinal palsy

  • Guillain-Barre disease

  • Head trauma

  • Alzheimer's disease

  • Lyme illness

  • Several sclerosis

  • Skeletal dystrophy

  • Chronic myasthenia

  • Parkinson's condition

  • Stroke

  • Wilson's illness

Many pharmaceuticals, including several sedatives and seizure treatments, can potentially lead to dysarthria.

Dysarthria: Symptoms

The patient with dysarthria mainly presents with the following symptoms that include −

  • Unsteady speech

  • Slurred speech

  • Being unable to talk loud enough or speaking too loudly

  • Fast-talking and difficult to understand

  • Voice with a nasal, raspy, or strain

  • Inconsistent or strange speaking rhythm

  • Variable speech volume

  • One-note speaking

  • Difficulty using your face muscles or tongue

When to Visit a Doctor?

Dysarthria may indicate a severe illness. If your capacity to talk changes suddenly or for no apparent reason, consult a doctor.

Dysarthria: Risk Factors

Dysarthria that is still developing is common in children. Later in life, brain injury might result in acquired dysarthria. Dysarthria, for instance, can be brought on by a stroke, brain tumor, or Parkinson's disease. Adults frequently develop dysarthria.

Dysarthria: Diagnosis

The diagnosis of dysarthria is mainly done based on history and some of the tests may be required for confirmation and to rule out underlying causes

Your speech may be assessed by a speech-language pathologist to help identify the kind of dysarthria you have. The neurologist, who will investigate the underlying problem, may find this to be useful. In addition to performing a physical examination, your doctor may also request tests to detect underlying disorders, such as −

  • Image-based exams. A thorough image of your brain, head, and neck produced by an imaging test, such as an MRI or CT scan, may help doctors determine what's causing your speech issue.

  • Research on the brain and nerves. They may assist in identifying the cause of your symptoms. Your brain's electrical activity may be measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG). Your nerves' electrical activity as they send signals to your muscles is measured by an electromyogram (EMG). The intensity and speed of the electrical signals as they pass through your nerves and into your muscles are measured by nerve conduction investigations.

  • Tests on blood and urine. These can assist in figuring out if an inflammatory or infectious condition is to blame for your symptoms.

  • A spinal puncture (spinal tap). In this operation, a doctor or nurse uses a needle to extract a tiny amount of cerebrospinal fluid from your lower back for laboratory analysis. A lumbar puncture can aid in the identification of severe infections, CNS conditions, and brain or spinal cord malignancies.

  • Brain surgery. Your doctor could take a little sample of your brain tissue for testing if they believe you have a brain tumor.

  • Testing for the nervous system. They assess your capacity for thought (cognitive skills), verbal comprehension, and reading and writing comprehension, among other abilities. Your cognitive abilities and comprehension of speech and writing are unaffected by dysarthria, but an underlying problem may be.

Dysarthria: Treatment

The treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor may advise conservative or surgical treatment.

The method of treatment you receive depends depend on the origin, degree, and kind of dysarthria you have.

When feasible, your doctor will address the underlying cause of your dysarthria, which might enhance your speech. See your doctor about modifying or quitting prescription drugs if they are the source of your dysarthria.

Treatment for Speech and Language

  • To help you communicate better and restore your regular speech, you could get speech and language therapy. Your speech therapy objectives may include modifying your speaking pace, building up your muscles, enhancing your articulation, and facilitating communication with your family.

  • If speech and language therapy is ineffective, your speech-language pathologist may advise attempting alternative communication techniques. These communication techniques could involve using an alphabet board, gestures, visual signals, or computer-based technologies.

Support and Coping

The following advice might improve your communication if you have severe dysarthria that makes it challenging to comprehend your speech −

  • Converse slowly. With more time to process your words, listeners may comprehend you more clearly.

  • Begin modestly. Before speaking in lengthier phrases, state your topic in one or two words.

  • Analyze comprehension. ASK your audience to acknowledge that they understand what you just said.

  • If you're worn out, keep it brief. Your speech may be more difficult to understand if you're tired.

  • Bring a backup. It can be beneficial to write messages. Have a pencil and a tiny pad of paper with you, or type messages on a cell phone or other handheld device.

  • Use brevity. To avoid having to express everything during talks, use diagrams and sketches or utilize pictures. You might also make a point of gesturing or pointing towards anything to make your point.

Dysarthria: Prevention

Some of the measures that can help to prevent dysarthria include −

  • Regularly moving about.

  • Be sure to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Include more fruits and veggies.

  • Restrict your intake of sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

  • Reduce your alcohol consumption.

  • Steer clear of smoking and passive smoking.

  • If you've been given a high diagnosis, don't take any medications that your doctor hasn't recommended.


The apraxic kind of dysarthria sometimes referred to as articulatory dyspraxia or apraxic dysarthria, is caused by diseases of the premotor region of the cerebral hemispheres. Word distortions, particularly those that are complex and polysyllabic, are what define this. Even while other mouth and tongue motions assessed separately seem normal, the proper articulatory movement patterns cannot be replicated. Nevertheless, face apraxia and apraxic dysarthria may coexist, and if Broca's region is affected, this will cause motor aphasia. Internal speech, syntax, and understanding are all still present.

The same clinical circumstances that result in motor aphasia can also induce apraxic dysarthria, such as trauma, tumors, atrophy, and vascular, granulomatous, or other inflammatory lesions. The location and severity of the lesion will determine the exact form of speech impairment.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 17-Apr-2023


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