Speech Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment


Speech Dysfunction of speech disorders is simply a type of communication disorder where normal speech is disrupted. When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly, efficiently and correctly, or has problems with his voice then she is supposed to have a speech disorder. Problems in producing sounds or articulation disorders and stuttering are examples of speech disorders.

One of the most common speech disorders or dysfunction is stuttering while other disorders include:

  • Apraxia: A motor speech disorder caused due to damage to the brain parts related to speaking
  • Dysarthria: A motor speech disorder in which the muscle of the mouth, face or respiratory system may be weak and are difficult to move. While it results in speech dysfunction.

The speech disorders sometimes are dangerous as it may lead to other several diseases including depression. People with speech disorders are aware of their thoughts and about say while they can’t due to speech disorders. Which simply effects their self-esteem issues and bring down their confidence level. Speech disorders can affect adults and children while the early prevention and treatment can correct the conditions.


Causes of Speech Dysfunction/Disorder

Speech dysfunction affects the vocal cords, muscles, nerves and other structures within the throat while the dysfunction may lead to person repeats a sound, word or phrase. Stuttering may be the most serious disfluency while Articulations disorders may have no clear causes. They may also occur in other family members and its other causes are:

  • Change or problem in the structure or shape of the muscles and bones which aids to make speech and sounds. These changes may include cleft palate and severe tooth problems.
  • Damage to the parts of the brains or the nerves (cerebral palsy) which controls how the muscle work together in order to create speech.

Some of the other causes of voice or speech dysfunction are:

  • Moving of the Acid from the stomach to upward body parts (GERD)
  • Symptoms of Cancer of the Throat
  • Problems with Cleft Palate
  • Conditions that damage the nerves which supply the muscles of the vocal cords
  • Growth of Noncancerous (Polyps, nodules, cysts, granulomas, papillomas, or ulcers) on the vocal cords
  • Constant and overuse of vocal cords such as screaming, clearing the throat or singing
  • A birth defect where a thin layer of tissue between the vocal cords affects the speech

Symptoms of Speech Dysfunction

The symptoms of the disease may differ according to the causes and types of speech disorder. However, the most common symptoms experienced by people with speech disorders are:

  • Repetition of the sound or words. Most people who have the problems of stutter repeats the words and phrases.
  • The use of extra sounds or words
  • The use of long words
  • Some people blink their eyes for several times while talking
  • While some people make jerky movements while talking, usually shakes their head
  • Some people may have visible frustration at the time of communications
  • Speech disorder may include frequent pauses while talking
  • Distortion of sounds while communicating
  • Hoarseness, raspy or gravely sounds
  • Voice may break in or out
  • Person may run out of air while talking
  • Change in the voice, it might be too loud while it might be too soft as well

Diagnosis of the Speech Dysfunction

The disorder is diagnosed according to its types and symptoms. If you’re suffering from Speech dysfunction then you must go for:



  • Denver Articulation Screening Exam: The Denver Articulation Screening exam is the most commonly used testing system for diagnosed speech disorder or dysfunction. The test evaluates the clarity in pronunciation in children and adults. The test is usually run for five minutes and there is an excessive exercise which is used to treat the children and adults disorder speech.
  • Language Milestones Scale 2: The test usually focuses on children and their languages. This test simply determines the child’s language development and help to overcome any speech disorders.
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised: The test is conducted in order to check person’s vocabulary and ability to speak. The person is set to listen to various words or phrases and choose pictures that describe the words. People who are generally slow and has intellectual disabilities along with blindness cannot take this assessment. While the test main concerned is to develop the vocabulary skills and overcome the speech disorders. The test has been revised numerous times since its first version in 1959.


Treatment of Speech Dysfunction

The disorders may not require any treatment, while the mild speech dysfunction may simply go away after the interval of times. Whereas the other severe problems can be healed with speech therapy. Generally, the treatment of the disorders depends on its type and the most accurate treatment of the disease is speech therapy. In speech therapy, a professional therapist will guide you through several exercises which allows you to work and enhance your muscles strength in face and throat. Furthermore, you will learn to control your breathing while speaking. The use of such exercise helps to improve your speech disorder while it gives you proper fluency while speaking.

Likewise, people often lose their confidence with speech dysfunction. In the contrary, talk therapy might boost their confidence. The therapy will discuss the ways to cope with such conditions and improve the outlook of the conditions. Meanwhile, if you’re depressed with such disorders then antidepressant medications might help.

Potential Complications of Speech Dysfunction

The untreated speech dysfunction may cause a person to suffer and experience a great deal of anxiety. While the extreme anxiety can lead to a phobia of speaking in public and turned down your confidence level. Meanwhile, the extreme lack of treatment might lead to unwanted embarrassment followed by depression.


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