Speaking – a skill that allows us to communicate our thoughts, needs, and feelings with those around us – is an ability that can be easily taken for granted. But imagine you suddenly lose the ability to get your words out, or the ability to make the right sounds required for speaking?
In some cases problems related to speech that appear to come on suddenly are temporary. For others, sudden onset speech problems can have a long-term effect. It is important to identify the underlying cause of the disrupted speech skills, as in some cases this can be a sign of a serious medical condition. If you want to learn more about how speech therapy can help to strengthen speech and language skills and optimize your ability to communicate, get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!
Why am I Suddenly Stumbling over my Words?
There are several things that can cause you to have trouble getting your words out. Some of these causes are easily addressed or treated, and so the effects on speech are temporary. In other cases, the cause is more serious and can result in long-term effects on communication skills.
Fatigue, Stress or Anxiety
Sometimes, feeling extreme stress or fatigue can make thinking of the right words incredibly difficult. For people who are worried about feeling shame or embarrassment, these problems may be exacerbated. Sometimes social anxiety can result in a dry mouth and stumbling over your words when speaking with other people causing you to struggle to talk or freeze up.
Simply being tired or fatigued can make it hard to think of the right words. And when you’re worried about being judged by others or feel embarrassed, you may experience difficulty in getting your words out.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Slurred speech is a well-known side effect of alcohol consumption. Alcohol slows down the communication between the brain and the body and the more you drink, the more intense and longer these effects will last.
Sometimes a severe migraine headache is responsible for messing with your words. This can be referred to as “transient aphasia” as the condition subsides as the migraine goes away.
Migraine headaches can be incredibly painful and in some cases can cause changes to the senses as well. As many as 25% of people who experience migraines have symptoms leading up to the onset of the migraine such as blind spots or flashing lights. It is also common to experience things such as dizziness, numbness, feeling confused or disoriented and even difficulty speaking.
In most cases, the exact cause of the migraine isn’t easily identified. Some preventive measures can be effective such as a well-balanced diet, proper hydration, and certain vitamins and supplements. Over-the-counter painkillers are also very effective at alleviating the pain and discomfort that comes with migraine headaches.
There are some diseases and disorders of the brain that can also affect one’s ability to speak. Multiple Sclerosis affects how the brain sends information between the brain cells and the rest of the body. This disease (also referred to as MS) causes lesions to develop on the parts of the brain that are responsible for speech, resulting in difficulties ranging from mild to significant. “Scanning speech” can be a common pattern for those affected by MS which means that there may be extra long pauses between each word or syllable. Multiple sclerosis can also affect the strength and ability to control the muscles in the mouth and cheeks that are needed for speech production. Learn more about how MS can affect speech and how speech therapy can help by scheduling your free introductory call today!
Sometimes sudden changes in speech abilities are caused by a traumatic brain injury or tumor on the part of the brain that manages language and speech production. Some of the other most common signs of brain cancer are frequent headaches, seizures, changes to memory or personality, unexplained nausea, chronic sleepiness, and difficulty accomplishing everyday tasks.
Often speech abilities are affected by epilepsy and certain types of seizures. At times a seizure can make the person appear to be ‘with it’ but in fact, they are unaware of what is happening in their surroundings. A person experiencing a seizure may make strange noises or be completely unable to speak. In some cases, a seizure may be caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury that will affect the areas of the brain responsible for language.
Difficulty talking, alongside a numb or droopy face and weakness in one side of the body, are some of the most common signs of a stroke. A stroke is caused by a blood clot located in the brain that has cut off the blood supply to that area. This can quickly result in slurred speech, speech that is difficult to understand, or loss of the ability to speak at all. Sometimes a stroke can result in permanent problems related to speech and language called aphasia.
If you or someone you love is showing signs of a stroke, it is important to call 9-1-1 right away so that treatment can happen as soon as possible. A stroke is an emergency and you should never try to wait or get to the hospital on your own.
How Can Speech Therapy Help Me Stop Mispronouncing Words?
Speech therapy is one of the most beneficial and valuable resources for anyone who is struggling with their speech, language, or communication skills. When trying to help someone who is suddenly mispronouncing words, the speech-language pathologist will need to first need to identify the cause of these changes. If the difficulties with speaking are the result of a neurological disorder or traumatic brain injury, the speech therapist will be able to create a custom treatment plan to support the individual’s recovery. When well-established skills are lost suddenly, it is important to treat this situation carefully and seriously as this can sometimes be a sign of a medical emergency. If you are suddenly struggling to speak and aren’t sure why, the first step is to visit your healthcare provider right away to rule out a possible stroke or brain injury.
An experienced speech and language pathologist can be the best resource when it comes to helping someone who is struggling with their communication skills as the result of brain disease or a disorder. You can learn more about how speech therapy can help recover lost skills and improve communication by scheduling your free introductory call today!