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Speech Disorders :Treatment, Procedure, Cost And Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2023

What is Speech Disorders and its treatment ?

The different difficulties that personal experience to make the appropriate sounds to create words are referred to as speech disorders. Some sought of voice disorders are also classified as speech disorders. The common speech disorders are

  1. Stuttering.
  2. Apraxia.
  3. Dysarthria.

Stuttering often occurs from childhood and can last throughout life. Researchers say that it may be due to some genetic factors. Some external factors such as being teased by others and embarrassment can trigger anxiety leading to speech muscle tightening. Apraxia is a common motor speech disorder which is caused due to damage in brain parts which affects speaking.

Dysarthria is another kind of motor speech disorder and one affected by this may feel difficulty in moving muscles associated with the mouth, face and respiratory system. Language delay is another communication disorder among children which arises when a child is not able to meet the required milestones of that age. Some people may be aware of what they want to speak but cannot connect their thoughts with words. This might lead to depression. These disorders can affect all age groups; early treatment can help in correcting the disorders. The muscles, nerves, vocal cords and other structures within the throat seem to be affected by speech disorders.

The causes of speech disorders are muscle weakness, respiratory weakness, strokes, brain damage, vocal cord paralysis, polyps or presence of nodules on the vocal cords. The other medical conditions that can trigger speech disorders are strokes, oral cancer, laryngeal cancer, autism, ADHD(attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dementia, Huntington's disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The symptoms vary according to the speech disorder. Some of the commonly seen symptoms are elongating words, presence of extra words and sounds, the sounds tend to repeat among those having stutter, blinking many times while talking, jerking movements involving head while talking, frustration which is visible while trying to communicate, frequent pauses while talking, hoarseness or communication is accompanied with gravelly or raspy sounding voice.

The various tests which are used to screen speech disorders are:
  1. Denver articulation screening exam: one of the common tests used to diagnose speech disorders. This includes various exercises to assess speech and symptoms of speech disorders.
  2. Early language milestones scale 2

    The child language development is detected in this test. Delayed speech involved with language disorders can be detected using this test.

  3. Peabody picture vocabulary test

    A person’s ability to speak and vocabulary is measured using test. The person is given with various words and person has to choose pictures which describe words. Those are blind and are having intellectual disabilities cannot undergo this assessment.

How is the treatment done ?

The various treatments for speech disorders are speech-language pathology, Audiology, Dysarthria and voice therapy.

  1. Speech-language pathology :

    The various strategies involved are :

    • Language intervention activities: These include interaction using pictures, books, events and objects to trigger language development. The therapy includes activities which try to correct vocabulary and building language skills.
    • Articulation therapy: various sound producing exercises which involve building right vocabulary and sentences are involved in this therapy.
    • Oral-motor/feeding swallowing therapy: facial massage and various oral exercises including tongue, lip, and jaw are part of this activity. These exercises aim in strengthening the muscles for eating, drinking and swallowing.
  2. Voice therapy :
  3. Voice therapy is used in speech disorder treatment mainly to treat hoarseness aiming at changes in vocal behaviors and lifestyles. It comprises a set of activities which intends to eliminate harmful behaviors in voice. It also assists in healing after vocal fold surgery. It involves a series of therapy session of 4-8 weeks. The duration of the session is decided according to the severity of hoarseness. This becomes effective when a patient is committed towards the practice and trying to implement the same outside the therapy sessions.

    Specific treatments for different disorders are as follows:

    1. Speech rate and breathing control exercise for those having symptoms associated with stuttering. The techniques aim at improving the speech as they practice.
    2. Apraxia treatment involves retraining the muscles associated with speech. The therapy helps in improving mouth movements so as to speak properly.
    3. Dysarthria treatment involves finding the underlying cause and severity of the same. Speech-language pathologists help in activities that involve making your speech and breathing more clearly. The activities rely upon training mouth, lip and tongue muscles to become stronger.

Who is eligible for the treatment of Speech Disorders?

Those who are having symptoms of speech disorders which are leading to anxiety and depression must check with the doctor and engage themselves in some therapies to overcome the disorders. If speech disorders remain untreated it can lead to anxiety, difficulty speaking in public and phobias. If speech or language is getting delayed among children, it must be diagnosed and cured.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

There are no such restrictions for this treatment as most of the treatments are associated with exercises and therapy session. The proper diagnosis helps to identify the origin of the disorders and severity of the disease. This helps to choose the suitable treatment. It would be better to reveal the medical history so that the sessions can be chosen accordingly.


Are there any side effects?

In general the treatment can be painful and in some cases especially with respect to the small children the sessions of training may be challenging, tiredness, and can bring in effects of depression. Some patients may feel helpless and thus can face issues of mild depression. The speech disorders if left untreated can trigger many side effects. Few among them are anxiety, public speaking fear, and depression. Depression can further cause sleep problems. The therapies and exercise seem to have no side effects. While if you are given anti-anxiety medications, then it can lead to drowsiness and tiredness. In case any patient reports any other complexity after undergoing the treatment the patient is advised to consult the doctor immediately.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The post-treatment guidelines are as follows:

  1. Counseling and mentoring are given to family members.
  2. Motivation and assistance to patients will help them to implement the exercise outside the sessions.
  3. Constant commitment and focus are needed to improve speech and lifestyles.
  4. Regular follow up and medications would help in a speedy recovery.

How long does it take to recover?

The lifestyle and speech seem to improve for those who seek early treatment. It can really help you from worsening the symptoms. The treatment recovery time varies from the patient condition to condition and differs from the mode of the treatment opted for the patient. The recovery of persons with permanent disabilities relies upon the severity of the disability. more than one therapy session of 4-8 weeks can show some beneficial improvement.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of treatment depends upon the city where you are opting the treatment, kinds of speech or voice disorders you have, the academic qualification and experience of the speech pathologist. The cost also relies on the number of therapy sessions you have to undergo. On an average, a session would cost you around Rs 1000- 1500. Most insurance schemes cover speech therapy treatment.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The symptoms and difficulties which are detected and treated early can give better results. The treatment can give you constant improvements if the exercises are followed up regularly. Motivation and encouragement from dear and near ones can really help the patients to overcome the disabilities and improve the lifestyle.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

As such there are no such alternatives to the speech disorder treatment. Music therapy can sometimes help in curing depression associated with speech disorders. Meditation and yoga can give to better focus to practice and implement the exercise programs.

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Written ByDr. Anjan Jyoti BhuyanMS - ENTEar-Nose-Throat (ENT)

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