How can you maintain a stronger voice?

Effective verbal communication like talking and listening to family, friends and coworkers are some of the most basic and valued activities of daily living. Even in the early stages of PD, many complain that their voices are too soft causing others to ask them to repeat themselves. Other PD patients may have a gruff or hoarse-like quality to their voice. So what can a person with PD struggling with a soft voice do? Here are a few tips to help you maintain a stronger voice:

  • Take a breath before you start to speak.
  • Pause between phases to take in another breath.
  • Express your ideas in short, concise sentences.
  • Drink plenty of water or other liquids each day (non-caffeine and non-alcoholic).
  • Speak louder than you think is necessary. PD causes the voice volume to be lowered and you may not realize how soft your speech has become.
  • But, do not shout over noise when you talk.
  • Rest your voice when it is tired.
  • Reduce throat clearing or coughing. Use a hard swallow or soft sound instead.
  • Reduce or eliminate heartburn.
  • If the air is dry in your home, use a humidifier.
  • Encourage friends and family to ask you to speak louder or repeat yourself, if they cannot understand what you have said.
  • If you have trouble with your speech, ask your health care provider to refer you to a speech-language pathologist who is trained in evaluating and treating problems with speech and swallowing.

If you have any questions about speech problems, please visit the Talk to a Speech Clinician forum, where a team of experts answer questions regarding speech and people with Parkinson's disease.

Want to Learn More?

Print this checklist:
Exercising Your Speech and Voice System

Print this checklist:
Take Care of Your Voice

Read this "Parkinson Report" article:
The Texas Voice Project

Request a free copy of this NPF manual:
Speech and Swallowing

Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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