Stuttering is one of the most common speech impairments. Stuttering may and can affect anyone of any age. As of right now 70 million people worldwide suffer from stuttering and 3 million of those are in the United States alone. Many people wonder what causes stuttering and how to get rid of it. To begin, let’s focus on what causes stuttering.
Stuttering is Genetic
Stammering is also possible to inherit from families, and it may be due to genetic abnormalities within the brain’s language centers. A lot of children who stutter are reported to have parents or a family member with a stuttering disorder.
What Causes Someone to Start Stuttering
Like many other impairments, some are genetic. So what causes someone to start stuttering? Stuttering is one of those genetic impairments. In fact, there is evidence that shows there is a genetic link to stuttering and it running through a family. With that, even though it may seem uncommon, stuttering is one of the most common speech impairments. Stuttering is considered to be a genetic abnormality that affects the region of the brain that is associated with speech and language.
The notability of stuttering does not become apparent until the child reaches the ages from about two to four years. At this age, boys suffer from twice as much as girls in that same age range. As the children grow the chance of a boy having a stutter is increased three to four times more likely than a girl of the same age. Stuttering will affect at least 5% of all children at some point in their lifetime.
Stuttering May Happen From Developmental Issues
Developmental issues are not always physical and for stuttering sometimes emotional trauma or distress can cause a person to stutter. Some people begin to stutter due to the high expectation they are held to by the people in their lives or those people live very fast-paced lives making communication harder at times. Those are the most extreme causes for stuttering.
Sometimes it is as simple as just learning how to speak. This is generally seen in young children because most young children at some point suffer from stuttering for a period of time. This is due in part to the delay of between the child’s speech and language abilities and their ability to vocalize those words.
Developmental stuttering can emerge to children as they begin or learn how to speak, they usually stutter, particularly early on when their speech and language skills are not well refined. The majority of children endure fewer symptoms as this developmental stuttering period improves until they can speak fluently.
Stuttering Can be Caused by Medical Trauma
This form of stuttering is now called neurogenic stuttering and is caused by some injury to the central nervous system. These injuries may be from external forces including head trauma, like getting a head injury during sports. This doesn’t always hold true because other forces can come from within the body.
People who have suffered from a stroke may begin to recover and realize that they have developed a stutter. Other causes can be degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or other diseases like meningitis or AIDS. Side effects of some drugs may cause someone to start stuttering also. The reason stuttering happens after any of these is because there is difficulty in sending signals from the brain to the nerves and muscles.
Symptoms of Stuttering
Any individual who stutters often repeats some words or parts of a particular word, and a tendency to prolong specific speech sounds. They may also find it challenging to begin with some words. Some may become tense when they start to speak, they may blink quickly, and their lips or jaw may shake as they try to communicate verbally.
What Causes Stuttering in Adults
Experts have found interesting differences in brain activity among stammerers and non-stammerers. People who stutter showed more activity in their right hemispheres when they speak because the right hemisphere is more connected with emotions, so it could be that the fear of speaking is generating anxiety which is making the right hemisphere to become more involved. However, it could be that the left hemisphere is not functioning correctly and the right hemisphere is trying to take on more work.
Factors that cause adult stuttering:
Due to a stroke or head injury, stutter-like symptoms can manifest in adults. Neurogenic stuttering presents with blocks, repetitions, and prolongations.
A rare condition that often starts suddenly following an experience causing extreme psychological stress. It is distinguished by the repetition of initial or stressed syllables.
This condition presents with a repeated blockage of the larynx, and the onset generally begins in the middle age.
What Causes Stuttering in Toddlers
A lot of young kids experience a stage within the ages of 2 and 5 when they stutter, repeating certain syllables, words or phrases, prolonging them, or stopping, producing no sound for specific sounds and syllables. Stuttering is a type of dysfluency, an interruption in the flow of speech.
Experts believe that various factors contribute to stuttering at an early age, including:
- Differentiation in the brain’s processing of language: People who stutter process language in different parts of the brain. And there is a problem with the way the brain’s information interact with the muscles and body parts required for speaking
- Hereditary: Children may inherit from their parents or close family member who stutters
- High/increased activity level
- A rapid rate of speech
- Other speech and language difficulties or developmental delays
How to Get Rid of Stuttering
Now knowing what causes it comes along the thought of how to stop stuttering. Unfortunately, there is no cure for stuttering and there is no overnight cure either. To be able to get rid of a stutter is usually requires treatment that will last longer. Most people go to therapy to treat their stutter. The treatment someone needs for stuttering ranges depending on the person’s age, gender, prior speech abilities, and the severity of their stutter. For younger children, their treatment is better to happen earlier than later.
This early treatment will reduce the chances of the stutter affecting them as they grow older and may help them lose the stutter. For teens and adults, they too go to therapy. At therapy, they are taught to learn how to speak slower and regulate their breathing. This will help them better articulate what they want to say and help control their stutter. Stuttering may be common and there are many causes for it, but there are treatments to help those who suffer from stuttering.