When your young child has allergies, breathing is not the only thing affected. Allergies can also affect their speech development. Inflamed sinuses can cause your child to mispronounce words, making it difficult to communicate. If your child's allergies are particularly severe, they can even cause permanent problems.
Continue reading to learn how allergies affect your child's speech and hearing development. Also, what your doctor and speech pathologist can do about the condition.
How Do Allergies Affect Speech and Hearing?
Many English sounds rely on air passing through the nasal cavity. When your child cannot push enough air through, he or she will not produce the right sounds. In addition, many people with allergies are forced to breathe through their mouths. Mouth breathing leads to more problems, especially in a developing child. Children can develop tooth and tongue issues that interfere with proper articulation.
Inflammation associated with allergies can also contribute to problems in the ears, nose, and throat area. They may have more infections, itchiness, and hearing problems than those without allergies. Hearing problems interfere with how they learn to speak. Throat issues can cause problems with a hoarse voice.
What Are Common Speech Problems in Children With Allergies?
Children with inflamed sinuses often have difficulty pronouncing certain syllables like ch, sh, s, z, c, and j. All of these syllables rely on the sinuses for pronunciation. As a result, your child may use other syllables like d for z, t for c, for example. Their voice may seem nasally, and they may cut off end syllables. They also may fail to correct repeat syllables if they have hearing problems. They may also fail to see the difference between two words that sound similar.
How Can a Speech Pathologist Help a Child With Allergies?
The first step is to treat the core problem. When that is not possible to do right away, a speech pathologist can help. The pathologist will help instruct your child on proper mouth movement for difficult syllables. He or she will also work to break bad habits your child may have picked up because of the allergies. Speech therapy will attempt to accommodate physical problems that lead to poor pronunciation.
In addition to speech therapy, work with your allergist and ears, nose, and throat doctor to reduce inflammation. However, if allergy problems persist, a speech pathologist can help your child work around the problem. If you have a child who has difficulty talking because of allergies, talk to services like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head about treatment options.