Speaking dyspnea in Parkinson's disease: Preliminary findings

Jeannette D. Hoit, Robert W. Lansing, Valerie Phan Brown, Hallie Nitido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine if people with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience dyspnea (breathing discomfort) during speaking. Method: The participants were 11 adults with PD and 22 healthy adults (11 young, 11 old). Participants were asked to recall experiences of breathing discomfort across different speaking contexts and provide ratings of those experiences (Retrospective ratings); then they rated the breathing discomfort experienced while performing speaking tasks that were designed to differ in respiratory demands (immediate Post-Speaking ratings). Results: Participants with PD reported experiencing breathing discomfort during speaking significantly more frequently (approximately 60 % of the time) than did healthy participants (less than 20 % of the time). Retrospective ratings did not differ significantly from Post-Speaking ratings. Breathing discomfort was experienced by the fewest number of participants with PD for Conversation (two) and Extemporaneous Speaking (three) and by the greatest number for Extended Reading (ten) and Long Counting (nine), although the magnitude of the ratings generally reflected only “Slight” discomfort. Breathing discomfort was most frequently described as air hunger and breathing work, less frequently as mental effort, and very rarely as lung tightness. A few participants with PD reported experiencing emotions associated with their breathing discomfort and most reported using strategies to avoid breathing discomfort in their daily lives. Conclusions: Individuals with PD are more apt to experience speaking dyspnea than healthy individuals, especially when speaking for extended periods or when using long breath groups. Such dyspnea may contribute to a tendency to avoid speaking situations and thereby impair quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106050
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Breathing discomfort
  • Dyspnea qualities
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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