Various surveys indicate that people speak a lot every day—like a lot. The University of Pennsylvania’s Language Log estimates that the average man speaks about 7,000 words per day and the average woman speaks about 20,000 words per day.
With as many conversations as you probably have during the day, it’s easy for the words to add up quickly. In fact, some of us likely talk so much that it becomes like second nature—when you want to say something, you simply verbalize it.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for all Americans. About 40 million Americans deal with speech and communication disorders every day. Whether they’re dealing with stuttering, dysarthria, a voice disorder, a speech sound disorder or another kind of speech issue, talking becomes a difficult, nerve-wrecking and potentially embarrassing ordeal. For some folks dealing with speech disorders, the very thought of verbal communication with others is scary.
Fortunately, for those struggling with a wide spectrum of speech disorders, speech therapy can offer help and many benefits. Speech therapists are well-trained and experienced in helping people—adults and children alike–in dealing with the constant struggles of speech and communication disorders. If you’re such a person who’s dealing with a speech disorder, here are five reasons why you should consider seeing a speech therapist:
- Stuttering: When you see a speech therapist, he or she is there to help you. Chances are you might be frustrated, especially if you have a stutter, but a speech therapist can be of great benefit. An SLP (speech-language pathologist) can help those who stutter get to a point where a stutter is barely noticeable or may not exist at all.
A speech therapist can help people who stutter by advising them to talk slower, carefully monitor their breathing patterns and find a comfortable rhythm when they want to say something aloud. Whether you’re a child, a teenager or an adult, exercises like these can help you overcome a stutter and feel more confident.
- Articulation: When someone struggles to accurately verbalize what they’re trying to say, it can be very frustrating—especially when the words are there in your head, but you can’t articulate them. Articulation helps people improve their overall speech and their overall confidence at the same time. Consider for a moment a child who struggles to pronounce the sound of a certain letter like ‘R’. Articulation exercises with a speech therapist can help that child overcome those struggles.
- Better understanding: It’s true that a speech therapist helps children and adults alike with speech disorders. But they can also help people who are trying to lose or gain an accent. For folks who have a naturalized accent, SLPs can help you overcome it by learning their speech patterns and then focusing on ways that people can naturally try and work the accent out of their speech over time.
- Confidence: People dealing with speech and communication disorders often find themselves dealing with anxiety and low self-esteem. It can be tough for children especially as they might deal with teasing from their peers. A speech therapist can help patients gain or re-gain confidence. Patients who work with a speech therapist will be able to communicate easier and can articulate ideas much easier. When they do this, it can be a huge confidence booster, especially for those who have been dealing with a speech disorder for a long time.
- Swallowing: People dealing with speech difficulties can also have swallowing issues. When this happens, it’s known as dysphagia and it can be caused by any number of medical aliments. A speech therapist can give a patient exercises (turning the head, biting techniques, etc) to work on at home which help them improve their swallowing.
Dealing with speech or communication disorders such as stuttering can be very debilitating and can cause low self-esteem. Thankfully, a speech therapist can help people of all ages–whether it’s child speech therapy or hypersensitivity speech therapy–deal with all kinds of speech issues and help them gain the confidence they need to speak better and articulate ideas more clearly and more naturally.