My husband's speech is becoming very slurred and very quiet and I find it difficult to understand him

and he gets very annoyed with me out of sheer frustration. How do others handle this? Do you have any tips or advice.

I recently spoke with a parkinson's nurse and she said something about a speech amplifier or microphone, could that help?

dorothy thompson

15 Replies

  • hi dorothy thompson i can tell you now that if your husbands speech is just quiet thats fine to get a speeeh amplifier but if it is garbled and a bit incoherent you are wasting your money i can tell you this from first hand experience its only good if he is ok with hes speech \\ive had one while i was talking ok and my pronouciation was ok it was fine but it will not sort out garbled speech im sorry to say ive been down that road peter jones queensland australia psp sufferer sorry mate good luck anyway whatever you decide its a bit early in the morning

    to be answering mail ive been up very early and still a bit dopey

  • hi dorothy well whatever psp throws at us mate we have just got to take it im afraid to say until they find some sort of cure for us \\\\\ to make myself understood now i keep saying it and my wife says aye a few times until she gets it i know its frustrating i thought she was going deaf at first but she had a hearing test and everything was fine with her i was the problem but i knew that \\ i was getting a bit worse even though i thought i sounded ok i could not pronounce some words i found i had to find another word for that word that i could not say or shorten it \\ one word i could not say was prescriptions so i shortened it to scripts i can still talk \but very quietly but im sad to say that not many people can understand me unless you have been talking to me for a while and get used to me \\what really got up my back mate first was when i would talk tp someone and they would say yes when the answer should have been no that used to get up my nose i belong to a caravan club and of course all the ages are pretty high up and i thought to myself one day they cant all be deaf can they!!!!!!! anyway its no good getting upset at things \we have no control over so your husband will have to settle down and except it then he will be a lot happier im sure\\\ thats not giving in by the way\\\\\ it will give you more peace of mind \\\\ i find that my my speech is better in the morning its stronger \\ is your husbands the same\\

    anyway i think i have gone on long enough im really sorry i could not help you or had better news for you dorothy but whatever you decide im sure it will be the right decision

    so goodnight to you take care my regards to your husband who i know is frustrated with a lot of things i hope he settles down to the fact that he has psp and he will be a lot happier in himself or as much as he can be with this horrible syndrome that has effected us all i try and make the best of each day petrer jones queensloand australia psp sufferer

  • Hi Peterjones

    Oh Happy Day as the saying goes. What other insults and injuries can PSP through at us!

    Thank you though for you reply though. What do you do to make your self understood now?

    take care


  • The speech therapist my husband had made up a laminated alphabet sheet. I asked him to point out the NOUN so I could understand what the subject was about. If your husband is still able to talk you could ask the same question. At least then you can have a guess about the content of his speaking.

    You can also get little picture cards made up for differentt things he is likely to need. i.e. spectacles - we used this if his specs needed cleaning. The list is endless but tailor it to your needs.

  • Springbank, Where did you get the picture cards? Thanks,


  • The speech therapist made them up and laminated them. She asked for a list of the usual things he required. I have to admit that the speech therapist was excellent and did thorough research int PSP/CBD and understood the symptons. You have to keep asking and pushing.

    I also passed the PSP book to the doctor as no one at the surgery had ever had a patient with this before, she ordered one to be kept in the surgery.

  • Hi Springbank, that sounds like a very good idea and I do about those cards, probably bought them for the grandchildren when they were small.

    I shall explore on line, many thanks.



  • Hello Dorothy, We had a very difficult time with trying to understand my husband and tried all sorts of things including word cards which my daughter made for us (he got very frustrated with these), lists of possible topics made by the speech therapist and so on.

    For a while his voice was stronger in the morning, but eventually even that fell away. I found the most succesful way of communicating was to try to guess the topic and then go through a list of possiblities, with him squeezing my hand in response - once for yes and twice for no.this worked quite well up until the day he died. Some of my friends and his carers could understand him better than me, might have been because i do have a hearing problem.

    You can only do your best, keep your chin up. My thoughts are with you. teena2

  • My husband's speech is the same. When he speaks I make sure the TV, radio etc are turned off or down and get very close. I repeat what I think he has said and he puts his thumb up or down for yes or no. I know it will get worse but I works at the moment.

    Nanna B

  • NannaB, I've found that when moving from room to room having the TV on is a distraction to my wife. She almost falls is her attention is taken away from the task at hand (getting to the bathroom, bedroom, etc.)


  • Hi Jimbo. I know what you mean. My hubby "fixes" on the TV and as I try to turn him, his feet turn but his head doesn't. I try to take him out every day as all he wants to do is snooze in front of the telly. Before PSP, he rarely watched it.

    Nanna B

  • yes Dorothy, my husband too. Some days it seems to come back a bit and it's not too bad. He has a speech device on loan from a gov't agency here in Canada, but really doesn't use it much. He also went through that very frustrating stage, and understandably so! This week his energy and coordination seems better but I can't understand anything he says. He has no volume, so I listen closely and it's incomprehensible. He has accepted this more now, and he usually has a pen and note pad close at hand. Yes sometimes his writing is as hard as his speech to understand, but when I tell him I can't read it, he laughs, and tries again. Perhaps not helpful, but I completely understand.


  • Also, went through a phase where In a very garbled language I was told he didn't know why I couldn't understand him, everyone else did!! Some things you just have to let roll off! :)


  • Hi Dorothy

    My mum got a voice amplifier on loan from Speech and Language Therapy. It's very useful and helps tremendously when the voice is quiet. There's not a lot you can do for the slurred speech unfortunately.

    Contact your local SALT.

    Good luck and best wishes


  • Hi All

    Many thanks for your help, I am going to speak with the SALT and the Parkinson's nurse about the speech amplifier because like some of the others, Harry DOES not take kindly to me struggling to hear him - he always says everyone else can understand him but me!!



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