One of the most widely reported symptoms of long COVID is difficulty thinking or concentrating, also known as brain fog. Such a cognitive disconnect causes a variety of speech communication problems. For example, people report having trouble remembering and using intended words or using well organized sentences.
Fortunately, speech therapy seems effective in helping long COVID patients recover their verbal abilities. Great Speech has developed a long COVID intervention plan to aid our patients’ recovery. Our program is in keeping with The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) long COVID recovery guidelines. ASHA emphasizes the need for and value of services provided by speech-language pathologists as critical in aiding patients to regain their verbal skills for a return to normalcy.
There is no formal assessment for long COVID. While treatment protocols for cognitive and language deficits from long COVID are being researched, patients know what is normal for them. As with other medical providers, we assess our patients based on their and their families’ feedback. But patients should know that in conjunction with potential medical management solutions, speech-language therapy can assist in recovery from long COVID symptoms.
Symptoms of long COVID are wide-ranging. A recent UK study identified 62 different symptoms “significantly” associated with the condition, including brain fog. Left untreated, such cognitive challenges can get worse, according to ASHA. Three examples in which speech pathologists can help long COVID patients to recover and avoid further deterioration include:
Cognition: Brain fog can prevent a return to work and interfere with family responsibilities. Speech therapists work with a patient to improve memory, attention, organizational problem solving and social interactions.
Communication: Low oxygen levels associated with COVID may be linked to speech and language difficulties, including talking, reading, writing and word recall. Speech therapists have methods for helping a patient to improve communication and understanding skills.
Voice: Post Covid patients may experience hoarse voice or other vocal cord problems. Speech therapy can help improve vocal quality, reduce hoarseness, or rough sounding voice and reduce vocal strain.
According to the CDC, long COVID symptoms can easily persist from one to three months and beyond; about 20% of COVID-19 survivors experience long COVID.
Overcoming such cognitive challenges is a classic speech therapy function. A long COVID patient who struggles with brain fog and other communication and voice issues should see a doctor for a formal diagnosis and ask for a virtual speech therapy referral to get help in the comfort and privacy of their home.
For more information, visit: https://greatspeech.com/covid-recovery/