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Stuttering Among Adults

What is stuttering among adults?

Stuttering is a condition in which speech is not smooth or is discontinuous. Stuttering in adults occurs when the speech production occurs abnormally. They cannot produce words or speech without difficulties. Stuttering in adults often is a neurogenic stuttering which occurs due to disturbance or damage to the nervous system.


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The nervous system problems are the result of :

  • Stroke with or without aphasia
  • Head injury
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative diseases such as Parkinson
  • Others such as meningitis
  • Drug induced stuttering

What factors affect the stuttering among adults?

Neurogenic stuttering occurs as a result of nerve problem. Originally, these individuals may speak fluently and smoothly, but due to nerve problem their fluency of speech is impaired. Usually, adults who have a history of stuttering in childhood but disappear as they grow older has greater tendency to acquire neurogenic stuttering.

What are the symptoms of neurogenic stuttering?

The symptoms of neurogenic stuttering may be varied as it comes with various factors. The symptoms may also be varied from one individual to the other.


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An adult might have stuttering if they show the following symptoms:

  • Excessive dysfluency or interruption during speech production due to blockage or interjection such as “mmm”, ”err”, and “aaa”.
  • Repetitions of syllable, word or phrase when speaking.
  • Prolongation or blockage during speech sound production.
  • Hesitates and pauses inappropriately when speaking.
  • Pauses or stops during production of speech without finishing the word.
  • Excessive additional sound during speech production
  • Rapid bursts of speech with reduced intelligibility.
  • Excessive movement at mouth, lips, jaw and tongue during speech.

These adults may also present with symptoms below:

  • Secondary stuttering which involves body part movement. (e.g. eyes blinking repeatedly, banging the table, stomping feet, nose twitching, head nodding)
  • Delays or avoids speaking at certain times.

Many adults do not realize or are not concerned about their speech problem. However, there are individuals who recognize this problem, therefore they feel nervous and depressed when they have to speak. These features are sometimes present as they try to overcome the speech problem.


Source: rohmad.net

What are the effects of stuttering in adults?

Stuttering affects speech production and interferes in delivery of message. In addition, it also adds the following effects:

  • Reduces self-confidence while speaking
  • Reduces the opportunity to socialize with peers
  • May lead to depression
  • Excessive anxiety to talk
  • Increased pressure resulting from embarrassment to talk

    Source: hulukelang.com

How is stuttering diagnosed?

If an individual shows stuttering symptoms, it is important to consult a speech language therapist in order to make a proper diagnosis. The speech language therapist also can then collaborate with other professionals involved to get more information regarding the patient’s related problems for a better diagnosis.

What strategies can be used to reduce stuttering?

Neurogenic stuttering may co-exist with other problems such as apraxia, aphasia and dysarthria. Therefore there is no single treatment approach that is effective to treat neurogenic stuttering.

Hence, below are strategies that can be used to reduce stuttering:

  • Use smooth speech techniques; produce the first sound of each word as soft as you can. Use the articulators (breathing, lips, tongue, and jaw) carefully and think of how you can produce each sound. Stretch out each vowel and use gentle onset for each consonant sound and try to produce the sound as softly as you can.
  • Slowing speech rate by saying fewer words in each breath.
  • Focus on gentle onset when starting to speak.
  • Alter speech articulator position in order to produce speech in a more smooth and relaxed manner.
  • Identify speech pattern that cause more disruptions and change the speech pattern to more appropriate production.

Speech therapy may also involve counselling to help the patient deal with anxiety and pressure due to the stuttering problem that they are faced with.

References

  1. http://www.icommunicatetherapy.com/adult-communication-difficulties-2/adult-speech-hearing-difficulties-deafness/stammering-stuttering-adult-dysfluency/ diperoleh pada 2 September 2015
  2. http://www.stutteringhelp.org/neurogenic-stuttering diperoleh pada 2 September 2015
  3. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8170&Itemid=3 diperoleh pada 2 September 2015
Last Reviewed : 7 March 2016
Writer / Translator : Nurul Fatehah bt. Ismail
Accreditor : Siti Suhana bt. Mohd Khalid