Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Are Changes In My Throat Effecting My Speech?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 02:16 PM

Question: My throat has changed so much and I speak so much slower that I sound mentally challenged. Doctors said I did not have a stroke, but my health has gone down and I am a diabetic now. I also have high blood pressure. I have been to a voice therapist who sent me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, (ENT). My throat seems swollen, but it is neither swollen nor sore. I just talk funny, slower than I usually do. Can you help?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Your throat seems swollen, yet not sore, and your vocalization has changed? Your advice to see an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeon to be evaluated was well-advised. If your ENT found no local disease, you will need to consult a neurologist for your speech. Remember that clear speech involves a feedback loop starting with healthy sound recognition and transmission of stimulus to your brain, processing within your brain (especially an area known as Broca’s area), and then efficient transmission of brain signal to effect coordinated muscle function and vocalization.

There are a few disorders such as hypothyroidism that will also change your voice pattern, but this can also be a symptom of more severe disease such as a stroke, and it would be wise for you to consult with a specialist immediately. If you have any difficulty contacting your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department for an immediate assessment by the emergency department physician.

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