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Singing can cure speech disorders: Study

Singing in a group could help people who have trouble with words and language, to speak again.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2006 14:57 IST

A new research has revealed that people who have trouble with words and language are better off lilting, for singing in a group seems to help people with aphasia to speak again.

Neurologists have long known that people suffering from aphasia, in which brain damage disrupts the ability to produce and comprehend language, can sing words that they cannot produce otherwise.

No one is certain why this is, but researchers had suspected it could be because singing slows the rate of speech and makes word retrieval simpler by limiting the number of syllables pronounced per beat. Therapists have tried different methods of getting patients to "reawaken" their powers of speech through singing, but these have met with only modest success.

Isabelle Peretz and colleagues at the University of Montreal in Canada gave people with aphasia familiar and unfamiliar songs to sing on their own and with others. Singing alone did not improve speech, but singing in a choir dramatically improved their ability to recall and pronounce words, regardless of the song.

It is not the singing itself that helps language memory, but the sharing of mood and experience between singers, Peretz says. She believes that choral singing could be a potent method of speech therapy.

First Published: Nov 27, 2006 13:45 IST