What Are Speech Disorders?
Speech disorders can affect the way a person creates sounds to form words. Certain voice disorders may also be considered speech disorders.
One of the most commonly experienced speech disorders is stuttering. Other speech disorders include
- apraxia: a motor speech disorder caused by damage to the parts of the brain related to speaking
- dysarthria: a motor speech disorder in which the muscles of the mouth, face, or respiratory system may become weak or have difficulty moving
Some people with speech disorders are aware of what they would like to say, but are unable to articulate their thoughts. This may lead to self-esteem issues and the development of depression.
Speech disorders can affect adults and children. Early treatment can correct these conditions.
What Causes Speech Disorders?
Speech disorders affect the vocal cords, muscles, nerves, and other structures within the throat.
Causes may include:
- vocal cord damage
- brain damage
- muscle weakness
- respiratory weakness
- polyps or nodules on the vocal cords
- vocal cord paralysis
People who have certain medical or developmental conditions may also have speech disorders. Common conditions that can lead to speech disorders are:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- oral cancer
- laryngeal cancer
- Huntington’s disease
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Speech disorders may be hereditary, and they can develop over time.