Objective: To examine self and carer perceived changes in communication associated with Parkinson's disease and relate these to speech intelligibility, gender, age and other disease measures. Design: Cross-sectional survey of a hospital- and community-based sample of 176 people with Parkinson's disease and their carers using a questionnaire based on semantic differential techniques. Participants: One hundred and four people with Parkinson's disease with no history of communication difficulties prior to onset of their Parkinson's disease and 45 primary carers who returned completed questionnaires. Main outcome measures: Differences in ratings for `before' the onset of Parkinson's disease versus present status. Results: There was a strong perception of negative impact on communication between `before' and `now', irrespective of age and gender and largely independent of disease severity and duration, intelligibility and cognitive status. Activities of daily living (assessed by Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) II) and depression rating scale scores had the strongest association with change (adjusted R 2 0.27). There was a significant correlation between the rank order of perceived change in features examined in people with Parkinson's disease versus their carers, though in general carers rated change as having less impact. Conclusions: Parkinson's disease exercises a strong influence on communication even before apparent alterations to intelligibility or motor status.