Cleft lip

Does your child or teenager have hypernasal speech? If so, there may be one or more underlying conditions that are causing or contributing to this. As a result, it’s important to have your child or teenager evaluated by an ear, nose, and throat specialist to determine the cause and provide treatment solutions and options.

It’s possible that your doctor may recommend hypernasal speech therapy. In some cases, endoscopic sinus surgery or another surgical procedure may be recommended to provide airway reconstruction.

If your child was born with a cleft palate, this may also be contributing to hypernasal speech. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 2,650 babies are born in the United States every year with this condition.
While it is recommended that surgery to repair a cleft palate should be performed by the time a child is 18 months old or younger, cleft lip surgical repair is usually performed when a child is a few months old. It is further recommended that this procedure should be performed by the time a child is one year old.

Hypernasal speech may also be caused by sinus infections, enlarged tonsils, and/or enlarged adenoids. Furthermore, when tonsils and adenoids are enlarged, this may point to an infection.

Is your child experiencing sleep disordered breathing? Do they also snore? Approximately 12% of children snore, and it is very common. However, one-to-three percent of children that snore also experience sleep disordered breathing. Another issue that tends to arise in two-to-four percent of children and adolescents is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Some children may experience breathing difficulties and sleep issues when their tonsils are enlarged. It’s been shown that children are almost four-times more likely to have sleep disordered breathing with enlarged tonsils.

Recent government data shows that on an annual basis, children and adolescents are having between 300-to-400,000 tonsillectomies performed. Girls, however, tend to have this procedure performed at nearly twice the rate as boys. Adenoidectomies, on the other hand, are performed 1.5 times more often with boys.

Studies show that 90% of the tonsillectomies performed in children 30 years ago were due to recurring infections. Currently, 20% are due to infections and 80% for obstructive sleep problems.

It’s important to obtain treatment as soon as possible for ear, nose, and throat problems in children and adolescents. Having uninterrupted sleep is of obvious importance for creating and maintaining health and well-being. When left untreated, ear, nose, and throat problems can potentially lead to infections and speech issues. Furthermore, it’s important to rule out the possibility of a more serious disease.

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