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Issues A Speech Pathologist, Somewhat Surprisingly, Can Help You With

Many people are aware that speech pathologists work with children who have difficulty learning how to speak or speaking clearly. Indeed, this does account for the bulk of many speech pathologists' workloads. However, it is not the only thing speech pathologists do. These professionals actually work with patients of all ages, and there are a few more surprising problems they are equipped to address. Take a look.

Voice Hoarseness

Have you found that, as you've grown older, your voice has begun to sound more hoarse and raspy? This is often the result of nasal polyps or polyps on the vocal cords. A surgeon will sometimes recommend having these polyps removed, but even after such a surgery, you may feel like your voice is not the same as it used to be. A speech pathologist is a great professional to work with in order to help improve your speech. They can give you exercises to do in order to strengthen your vocal cords in ways that allow them to function well in spite of the polyps or associated scar tissue. Over time, you should notice the hoarseness subside or become less noticeable.

Trouble Speaking After a Stroke

Stokes affect patients in many different ways, but it is not uncommon for patients to struggle with speech after a stroke. Stroke patients not only have trouble remembering certain words. They may also forget how to move their mouths in the ways required to say certain words clearly. A speech pathologist can help address the second problem — physically forming the words. They will generally work in tandem with the rest of the stroke management team to address this unfortunate symptom and help the patient regain their ability to speak with confidence. They can do the same for patients who have lost their ability to speak due to head trauma.

Difficulty Swallowing

Difficulty swallowing is sometimes referred to as dysphagia. It can be due to a nervous system disorder or an injury. Although it is not directly related to speech, it does involve a lot of the same muscles as speech. As such, patients with dysphagia often benefit from working with a speech pathologist. This professional can teach them exercises to strengthen the muscles required for swallowing, and they can also teach them tactics for safer swallowing.

Speech pathologists are pretty incredible professionals with a wide range of skills and knowledge. Reach out to a medical center like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head for more information about any of the above conditions.