Speech therapy can help correct hypernasality. There are many ways to identify, assess, and treat this resonance disorder.
What Is hypernasality?
Hypernasality is classified as a resonance disorder. This type of disorder occurs because the airflow through the nose is compromised, which can occur because the velopharyngeal valve isn't working properly.
"During normal speech, air from the lungs and sound from the vocal cords (in the larynx, or “voice box”) travel upward in the throat (pharynx). To produce most speech sounds, the air and sound need to be directed into the mouth and blocked from entering the nasal cavity. This is done through closure of the velopharyngeal valve."
The velopharyngeal valve consists of the following structures:
- Velum (soft palate)
- Lateral pharyngeal walls − side walls of the throat
- Posterior pharyngeal wall − the back wall of the throat
Because the velopharyngeal valve separates your mouth from your nose, people with hypernasality often have an abnormality here. For example, some people might have a valve that can be smaller, and for others, their valve doesn't function properly.
What causes it?
Some causes of hypernasality are:
- Cleft palate
- Birth deformities
- Neurological problems
- Cerebral palsy
Can speech therapy help?
By working with a Speech Language Pathologist, you can fix your hypernasality. Some exercises that an SLP will teach you to do are the following:
- Changing tongue placement
- Mouth exercises
- Facial muscle recognition
- Computer-assisted resources and modules
However, speech therapy for hypernasality in children aims to exercise the correct mouth muscles and form sounds. So here are some exercises for children are:
- Stimulability probe
- Altering Tongue Position
- Open Mouth
- Change Volume and Pitch
- Auditory Feedback
If you have hypernasality and are experiencing speech defects, look into speech therapy. Learn more about how speech therapy can help you, or book a free consultation!