Hypernasality is mostly experienced during childhood. In this condition, the affected child develops speaking disabilities. This occurs when the child’s palate and the pharynx do not close completely, leading to unusual amounts of air passing through the nose. This makes letters like s, b, k and all the five vowels sound abnormal.
What Causes Hypernasality?
In some cases, neurological disorders are responsible for causing hypernasality. Kids affected with cerebral palsy have increased chances of developing this condition. Children suffering from cleft palate are also vulnerable.
The chance of developing hypernasality doubles up when the child undergoes a surgery to treat cleft palate.Hypernasality could develop if the child is suffering from a genetic disorder called Down’s syndrome. If adenoidectomy has been performed on the child, he/she has increased chances of developing this condition.
How To Identify Hypernasality
Parents can easily identify hypernasality by observing the child’s ability to pronounce different words or letters. Additionally, if your child has been diagnosed with any of the aforementioned disorders or disease conditions, it is extremely crucial for you to keenly observe your child’s speech and get appropriate treatment if necessary.
Since a lot of air is passed through the nose, you can place a mirror below the child’s nose in case you suspect that he/she maybe suffering from this condition. Ask the child to speak and if you notice a dense formation of moisture on the mirror (more than what is normally observed), you could suspect a case of hypernasality.
You could also contact a speech pathologist for this purpose. An expert in the field of speech therapy would be easily able to identify the condition by observing the child’s ability to speak and pronounce various words and letters. He/she will make use of specific instruments to measure the amount of air that is passed out from the nose, helping in identification and diagnosis.
Treatment For Hypernasality
In a majority of cases, speech therapy is sufficient to treat the condition. The speech specialist would work with your child on a regular basis to correct his way of speaking. Over time, practice and experience is all it takes to treat the condition. This may take months or several years depending on when the condition was identified and diagnosed. If the condition is severe, the more time it will take for the child to get rid of his speech problems.
Those suffering from cleft palate also have a tendency to suffer from hearing losses. This makes it difficult for the child to grasp certain letters or words, decreasing the fluency and ability with which he/she speaks. Therefore, cleft palate kids should be tested for hearing abilities as well before finding out techniques to treat hypernasality. In rare cases, speech therapy alone may not be sufficient. In such matters, the child might have to go in for a surgery to treat the condition.
Prompt treatment is crucial to get rid of the condition. Parents and school teachers play a crucial role in detecting these symptoms at the earliest. With early diagnosis, the child’s ability to correct his pronunciations is much faster and accurate.