A stutter is a speech disorder that involves problems with normal fluency and speech flow. While people who stutter know exactly what they want to say, they have a hard time producing the words, perhaps because they repeat or prolong a word, syllable consonant or vowel. Below is an overview of how stuttering may present, the possible causes and when to schedule an appointment to see a specialist.
What Are the Symptoms of Stuttering?
There are many ways a stutter may present, including:
- Trouble starting a word, phrase or sentence
- Prolonging a word, syllable or sound
- Repeating a word, syllable or sound
- Pausing within a word (called a broken word)
- Addition of filler words
- Limited ability to communicate effectively
These symptoms may be accompanied by:
- Tension or tightness in the face
- Tremors in the lips or jaw
- Anxiety about talking
- Rapid eye blinking
- Facial tics
- Head jerks
- Fist clenching
Symptoms are likely to worsen when a person is an emotional state, like if they are excited, stressed, tired or anxious.
Causes of Stuttering
Many factors can contribute to whether someone has a stutter, such as:
- Several genes can cause stuttering, which can be triggered by mutations that run in families. Someone who has a sibling that stutters is 15x more likely to have a stutter than someone without.
- Poor speech motor control. Abnormalities in timing, sensory and motor coordination may contribute to stuttering.
- Stroke, traumatic brain injury or brain disorders. These factors can lead to what is known as neurogenic stuttering.
When to Seek Expert Help
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in 20 children stutter, though most will outgrow the disorder either on their own or with the help of a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Talk to your doctor or consult with an SLP if your or your child’s stutter…
- Lasts longer than six months
- Is accompanied by other speech or language problems
- Occurs with muscle tightening or other physical difficulty
- Becomes more frequent
- Impacts ability to perform at a Philadelphia school or work
- Causes emotional problems like anxiety
- Begins in adulthood
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.