It’s national speech and hearing month

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -It’s national speech and hearing month...and in this week’s medical Monday, we’re hearing from a speech pathologist about what kind of things can lead to speech and swallowing issues.

Talking and swallowing are something we do everyday...multiple times a day...but for many, those things can be a struggle.

“Somebody right after a stroke. Somebody after an accident or a traumatic brain injury, worsening dementia or other neurological….neurocognitive diseases kind of following them through that disease process and just kind of help them from start to finish.”

“Maybe the doctor has put limitations on you because of your medical issues. Perhaps cancer of the throat. Perhaps Parkinson’s, perhaps stroke. There are so many things that can impact this mechanism.”

Anthony Briscoe is Lead Speech Pathologist at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital. He says there are ways they can evaluate a person to see how well someone can swallow.

“This provides, and you can see the picture behind me. We anesthetize the patient, and we insert this in and we give them a few bites and with this we can tell if the food is going in the right way, at least into the esophagus.”

“We’ll trial different textures and consistencies. So we’ll do thin liquids, if I have to put some thickener in. Do a nectar thick or a honey thick, we can do that. The purees you know the apple sauce and the puddings and then work our way up through easy to chew…all the way up to regular textures those crunchy chips and nuts that everybody loves.”

As far as speech, Kayla Trask says there are a few ways they can help someone improve their speech.

“A lot of what I do is cognitive therapy and memory and word finding, attention, comprehension. We also work a lot in voice and speech as well you know sometimes after a stroke people can have aphasia and that does impact their speech and language skills, so we do work on those words and sentences.”

Megan: If you have any concerns about your speech or throat, you’re encouraged to contact your provider.

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