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Managing Speech Disorders in Adults: Tips and Guidelines

Ramin Ansari MD
Medically reviewed by Ramin Ansari
Ramin Ansari MD
Medically reviewed by Ramin Ansari

Speech is a fundamental aspect of human communication. And when speech disorders affect adults, it can have a profound impact on their lives. These disorders can lead to challenges in:

  • Expressing thoughts.
  • Understanding others.
  • Participating fully in social interactions.

Managing these conditions effectively is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life.

This guide delves into the world of Speech Disorders in Adults. It provides insight into the various types of disorders, their underlying causes, and the associated symptoms. This guide will not only offer insights into professional interventions. But it also explores self-help strategies, support communities, and valuable tips.

Types of Adult Speech Impairment

Adult speech disorders come in various forms. Each has its unique characteristics and challenges. Understanding these types is the first step toward effective management:

  • Articulation Disorders. Articulation disorders are characterized by difficulty pronouncing words and sounds correctly. These disorders can lead to speech that is difficult to understand. It impacts an individual’s ability to communicate effectively.
  • Fluency Disorders. Fluency problems of speaking include conditions like stuttering. There, speech is interrupted by frequent hesitations or repetitions of sounds, syllables. These disorders can lead to significant self-esteem and communication issues.
  • Voice Disorders. Voice disorders affect the quality, pitch, or loudness of an individual’s voice. Vocal nodules or cord paralysis can result in hoarseness, breathiness etc.
  • Language Disorders. Language disorders affect an individual’s ability to understand and use language. These disorders can lead to difficulty in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • Cognitive-Communication Disorders. These problems of speaking often result from neurological conditions. They’re traumatic brain injuries, stroke, or dementia. They impact an individual’s thinking and communication abilities. It makes it challenging to express thoughts and understand others.

the girl is holding her throat

Causes and Symptoms

The root causes and the symptoms of speech disorders in adults are essential. It’s vital for early diagnosis and intervention. Speech disorders, while often challenging, are not insurmountable obstacles.

Early identification and intervention can significantly improve the prognosis. And it helps individuals regain their ability to communicate effectively.

This block will shed light on the various underlying causes of speech impairments. They range from neurological conditions to psychological factors and developmental origins. We will also explore the common symptoms associated with these adult speech problems.

Causes

They’re:

  • Neurological Conditions. Neurological conditions like stroke, traumatic brain injury, or neurodegenerative diseases can damage the brain’s language centers, leading to speech disorders.
  • Structural Abnormalities. Anatomical issues, life cleft palate, vocal cord lesions, or damage to the vocal cords cause difficulties.
  • Psychological Factors. Anxiety, stress, and other emotional factors can contribute to speech disorders. It’s especially in cases of psychogenic stuttering.
  • Developmental Factors. Some speech disorders may originate in childhood and persist into adulthood. They’re articulation disorders or language speech impediments in adults.

Symptoms

The symptoms of speech disorders in adults can vary. It depends on the type and underlying cause, but common signs may include:

  • Difficulty pronouncing certain words or sounds.
  • Repeated hesitations, repetitions, or prolongations in speech (as seen in stuttering).
  • Hoarseness or changes in voice quality.
  • Limited vocabulary and difficulty constructing sentences.
  • Struggles with understanding spoken or written language.
  • Cognitive difficulties, such as trouble organizing thoughts or responding to questions effectively. 

Problems of speaking can manifest differently in each individual. For example, someone with a fluency disorder may exhibit visible signs. They’re repeated stammering, for example. While someone with a voice disorder may have a persistently hoarse voice. Language and cognitive-communication disorders may be less evident in speech. But they can affect understanding, memory, and conversation participation.

people support a girl with a speech disorder

Tips for Managing Speech Disorders

Effectively managing speech disorders involves a well-rounded approach. It greatly enhances communication and quality of life.

This guide will cover professional help, self-help methods, and community support. It offers a comprehensive strategy for managing adult problems of speaking.

By following these steps, you can regain their confidence. And you will improve your communication abilities.

Seeking Professional Help

The first and most critical step in managing speech disorders in adults is seeking help. Consultation with specialists can provide accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plans.

Speech Therapy for Adults

Speech therapy for adults can be highly effective. And it typically involves the following components:

  • Assessment and Diagnosis. The SLP starts by conducting a comprehensive evaluation. It’s to determine the specific type and severity of the speech disorder. This assessment helps tailor the therapy to the individual’s needs.
  • Goal Setting. Collaboratively, the SLP and the individual set goals for therapy. These goals are specific, measurable, and achievable within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Therapeutic Techniques. The SLP employs various therapeutic techniques based on the individual’s diagnosis. Adults with speech problems might engage in exercises that target specific speech sounds. While individuals with fluency disorders practice strategies to enhance fluency.
  • Language Rehabilitation. Speech therapy focuses on improving language skills, comprehension, and expression. This includes activities to enhance vocabulary and sentence construction.
  • Voice Therapy. Voice therapy aims to improve vocal quality, pitch control, and vocal endurance. Individuals with voice disorders learn exercises and techniques. It’s to strengthen and control their vocal cords.
  • Fluency Management. For adults with fluency speech impediments, therapy focuses on reducing stuttering. Techniques such as controlled breathing, speech rate control, and confidence-building strategies are employed.
  • Cognitive-Communication Rehabilitation. In cases of cognitive-communication disorders resulting from neurological conditions, therapy may focus on enhancing cognitive skills. This includes memory exercises, attention training, and problem-solving activities.

 

Self-help Strategies and Tools

Besides formal therapy, there are several self-help strategies and tools. The adults with speech disorders can use them to improve their communication abilities:

  • Practice, Practice, Practice. Repetition is often the key to improvement. Regularly practicing speech exercises and techniques can help with speech disorders in adults. They can build confidence and overcome their challenges.
  • Speech Apps and Software. Many speech therapy apps and software programs are available. They’re designed to assist with articulation, fluency, and voice training. These tools can be used at home to complement formal therapy sessions.
  • Breathing and Relaxation Techniques. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate speech disorders. Learning relaxation and breathing exercises can help individuals. They can stay calm and maintain fluency during challenging situations.
  • Voice Exercises. Exercises that strengthen and improve vocal quality can be beneficial. These exercises may involve humming, pitch variation, and voice rest.

 

Support Groups and Communities

Support from others who are experiencing problems of speaking can be immensely valuable. Consider joining local or online support groups for adults with speech disorders. These groups provide a platform for sharing experiences, learning, and gaining emotional support.

Conclusion

Managing speech disorders in adults is a journey that requires dedication and resources. Seeking professional help and using self-help strategies can improve communication.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. And support from peers and experts can make a significant difference.

If you or a loved one is struggling with problems of speaking, don’t hesitate to reach out to our clinic. Our experienced team of speech-language pathologists is dedicated to helping adults. Together, we can work towards a future. There, speech disorders no longer limit your potential.

FAQ

  • What are the most common speech disorders found in adults?

The most common speech disorders in adults include:

  • Articulation disorders.
  • Fluency disorders (stuttering).
  • Voice disorders.
  • Language disorders (such as aphasia).
  • Cognitive-communication disorders resulting from neurological conditions like stroke or traumatic brain injury.

 

  • What kind of specialists should one consult for adult speech problems?

For adult speech problems, it’s essential to consult a speech-language pathologist (SLP). These professionals diagnose and treat speech disorders. Depending on the specific issue, other specialists such as neurologists or otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors) may be involved in the diagnosis and treatment process.

 

  • Can speech disorders in adults be fully cured or only managed?

The outcome for speech disorders in adults varies. It depends on the type, severity, and underlying causes of the disorder. Some individuals may fully recover with appropriate treatment. But others may need to manage their speech disorder throughout their lives. In any case, early intervention and consistent therapy can greatly improve communication.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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