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Understanding how aging can affect the ability to communicate.

As we age, normal changes occur that can affect our speech, hearing and memory. Vocal chords can become less elastic and larynx muscles can weaken, making it more difficult to communicate vocally. Changes in ear and nerve function gradually affect the ability to understand others and to react to auditory cues, such as smoke alarms and traffic.

In addition to age-related issues, disease, accidents, medications, strokes, and progressive disorders such as dementia and Parkinson’s can significantly affect the ability to communicate.

Are you or a loved one finding it hard to communicate with others? Whatever the source, speech therapists play a vital role in rehabilitating those with communication difficulties.

Losing communication abilities can affect health and safety, make it hard to enjoy interacting with family and friends, and lead to feelings of frustration and isolation.

Here are some common signs of problems that speech therapy can address:

  • Changes in cognition: Becoming increasingly forgetful or having trouble understanding speech.
  • Changes in eating and swallowing: Growing increasingly unable to swallow food or coughing when swallowing.
  • Vocal difficulties: Constant hoarseness or difficulty producing speech sounds correctly.
  • Aphasia after a stroke: Loss of the ability to understand or express speech.
  • Trouble with social communication: Difficulty greeting, commenting, asking questions or following normal rules for conversation.
  • Hearing loss: Trouble understanding conversation or hearing the TV at levels that are loud enough for others.

At Lutheran Life Villages, our speech therapists are trained to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, and cognitive communication, hearing and swallowing disorders.

Speech therapy is available to people of all ages as part of our regionally recognized, multi-discipline rehabilitation program provided for both inpatients and outpatients at three of our campuses—The Village at Pine Valley, The Village at Kendallville and The Village at Anthony Boulevard.

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