Facial paralysis is the loss of facial movement resulting from inflammation, injury, infection, or absence of the facial nerve or facial musculature. Most of the time, facial paralysis affects only one side of the face, causing an asymmetrical appearance. While the embarrassment of asymmetrical features can cause issues to a person’s self-esteem and confidence, many people with Bell’s palsy also face speech impairment that affects their lives.
Often diagnosed as Dysarthria, a speech impairment that occurs from the muscles used for speech becoming weak, can be a common result of facial paralysis. Signs and symptoms of dysarthria may include:
- Slurred speech
- Slow speech
- Inability to control the volume of voice – either speaking too loudly or barely more than a whisper
- Uneven or abnormal speech rhythm
- Monotone speech
- Difficulty moving the tongue or facial muscles
- Strained voice
- Irregular speech volume – cannot control the difference between quiet and loud speech
As with other symptoms of Bell’s palsy, communication problems can place unwanted stress on relationships. Many people find that they experience social difficulty because their communication problems affect their relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. They may tend to exclude themselves from social situations. In many cases where people feel isolated, they also suffer from depression. It is vital that people who are experiencing Bell’s palsy and any of the symptoms that occur with it stay in communication with their doctor. Feelings of isolation, embarrassment, or depression need to be addressed.
Dr. Teresa O specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of facial nerve damage. Dr. O leads the team at New York Facial Paralysis to provide accurate diagnosis and treatment to patients who have suffered from facial paralysis or vascular anomalies.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We are here to help!