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What is dysarthria and how does it relate to concussions?

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What is dysarthria and how does it relate to concussions?

A car crash can inflict devastating injuries, so if you happen to get off with just a blow to the head with no serious aftereffects, you might believe you got off lucky. But if you suddenly start having problems speaking, it could indicate you received a serious brain injury. People who experience speaking problems after a concussion may have a condition known as dysarthria.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), dysarthria results when muscle problems make it hard to speak. These muscle problems occur because of brain damage. Since concussions result in injury to the brain, some people who experience blows to the head can manifest a case of dysarthria. Some instances of dysarthria are mild, but others can be severe.

A number of speech problems may indicate you suffer from dysarthria. You might have problems making yourself understandable to other people because you slur or mumble your words. This could happen because of problems moving your lips, your tongue or your jaw, any of which could interfere with your ability to form words and phrases.

Even if you do not have slurring problems, you might experience other speaking issues. Some dysarthria sufferers speak more slowly or more quickly than usual. You might develop a robotic tone to your voice, or you could sound choppy. Your voice could also come off hoarse, as if you suffered from a dry throat. Alternatively, you might sound like you suffer from nasal congestion.

While some of these problems do not sound serious, you might still have a serious brain injury if your speech has changed shortly after an accident. Receiving a proper diagnosis may alert you to a health issue that requires treatment before you suffer permanent health damage or even death. Treatment of dysarthria may also improve your emotional state, since people with this condition can feel depressed from not being able to interact well with others.

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