Understanding Hypernasal Speech Resonance Disorder in Children


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When there is too much air leakage through the nose while talking a condition known as hypernasal speech occurs. This is a speech resonance disorder which results in a hollow and reverberating sound creating difficulties pronunciation of certain words. Usually, this disorder is caused by a dysfunction in the body which affects part of the throat and roof of the mouth. When these body features fail to function properly, a condition called Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), communication between the nasal cavity and the mouth is disrupted causing poor speech.

Normally, this type of speech disorder is very common in children who’ve undergone cleft palate repair surgery. The condition makes it difficult for a child to effectively communicate and to be understood by peers and other people, and sometimes it becomes even difficult for a parent to understand what their child is trying to communicate.

Children who experience difficulty in speaking due to hypernasal speech often face discrimination by peers. Studies further indicate that normal speaking children are less likely to associate and engage in playful activities with children who speak this way. Other studies show that adults with hypernasality find it difficult to secure jobs as they are considered inferior that their counterparts who speak fluently.

If your child has this kind of speech disorder, it is recommended that you find immediate help that will correct the condition early in his life. But before you do that, you need to understand that there are two main types of nasal speech disorders, which are hypernasality and hyponasality. Knowing which specific type affect you child can enable you to seek the right solution, although, both conditions are considered serious as they can negatively affect your child’s ability to communicate.

So what treatment options are there for your child speech disorder? Speech therapy is the most common and preferred option in treating hypernasal speech. However, if therapy does not yield great results, or if the condition is worse than imagined, other treatment options many be considered. During a doctor’s visit, your child will be examined to identify the nature of the disorder and this is done through video nasal endoscopy. This examination entails the use of a fiberoptic endoscope which is channeled through the nose. Through this medical examination, the doctor will be able to understand what exactly is going on at the back of the nose where soft palate should occur for a normal speech. In addition, the examination will help the doctor choose the right course of treatment for that particular speech problem.

If surgery is pursued, the doctor will administer treatment aimed at remedying velopharyngeal insufficiency by getting the right amount of closure. For advance speech disorder that has even affected the speech system of your child, vocal cord surgery is recommended. Cleft clip in children can often be confused with hypernasality. But they are different and while the former can only be treated through minor surgical operation, the latter can has two hypernasal speech treatment approach. That is speech therapy and surgery.

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