Facial Paralysis

Facial Paralysis

Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome or stroke can have a significant impact on a individual’s desire to participate socially

Facial paralysis is the loss or reduction of movement due to a trauma to the facial nerve. This can result in loss of amplitude of movement, loss of strength or tone in the muscles. It can result in the eyelid no longer closing, excessive tears or eye dryness, difficulty chewing food, messier eating and mumbled speech.

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What impact can facial paralysis have?

People use facial expressions every day as part of communication. This is known as non-verbal communication. People with facial paralysis find actions such as smiling, scowling, winking and pouting very difficult.

They tend to become self-conscious about using facial expressions, which then creates a barrier to social participation.

A person with facial paralysis may also experience difficulties with speech. The facial nerve is responsible for movement of the lips and maintains good muscle tone in the cheeks. When the facial nerve is damaged, the lips can become weak and the muscle tone in the cheek can be lost or reduced. As a result your speech may become unclear and you may feel that your speech sounds different or it feels harder to speak. Individuals can experience pain, spasm or synkinesis (unwanted movement). For example, an attempt to smile may result in an eye closing at the same time.

What kind of treatment or intervention is available for facial paralysis?

Speech-language therapy in facial paralysis aims the rehabilitation of oral functions such as speaking, chewing, swallowing, suction and facial expressiveness. For synkenisis affected muscles have to be retaught when to move and when to stay relaxed, and various facial exercises have to be practised over and over again. For this, it is necessary a detailed follow-up of movements in order to rebalance facial movements, providing symmetry and facial harmony to the individual.

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Conclusion

Facial paralysis is a condition that requires good rehabilitative care by a speech-language pathologist to return symmetry to the face, rebalance facial movements and improve speech intelligibility. The speech-language pathologists at the Centre Mosaïque de Québec can help you regain confidence and communicate better.

Make an appointment

The Centre Mosaïque is committed to providing prompt care to meet your needs. Feel free to contact us to find out how our speech therapists can help you.