Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

How Enlarged Adenoids Can Affect Speech

by Stephen Silva

If you or your child are struggling with nasally-sounding speech, then the problem might be with your adenoids. When these glands are enlarged, then they can have a great affect on your speech. Generally, adenoid problems are more common in children because the glands are usually larger at that age, though adults can have problems with them their whole life. Here is more on how adenoids can affect your speech and health.

What Are Adenoids?

Adenoids are part of the lymphatic system and are located at the back of the nasal cavity and throat. Their job is to help "catch" infectious material and allergens before they enter the respiratory tract. They are usually at their largest when you are young and often disappear in adulthood. However, some people are born with large adenoids that never shrink.

What Are the Signs of Infected Adenoids?

When the adenoids are infected, they swell up and get large enough to cause problems with breathing through the nose and swallowing. Your ears will also feel blocked and you may snore when you sleep. For most people,they return to normal size when the infection has cleared up.

How do Adenoids Get Infected?

Viruses, such as colds and influenza, are common reasons for infections as well as exposure to bacteria. However, allergies also play a big role in causing enlarged adenoids, including food allergies. If you are constantly exposed to allergens in which you are sensitive to, then your adenoids may always be inflamed.

How is Speech Affected by Adenoids?

Enlarged adenoids can affect the tone and quality of you or your child's speech. In some cases, the speech often sounds nasally or similar to someone who has a cold. Certain vowels and consonants that rely on a puff of air passing through the nasal cavity are hard to perform. This could cause you or your child's speech to be difficult to understand by others.

What Can be Done to Improve Adenoid Problems?

Many doctors treat the infection with medication and wait to see if the adenoids shrink on their own. If the adenoids are causing severe problems, and you or your child are in good health otherwise, then they can be removed. In some people, removing the adenoids can still cause problems with the with the soft palate not closing properly. This problem is often temporary, but in some cases, it could cause a different set of speech issues.

Talk to an ears, nose, and throat specialist if it appears that you or your child's adenoids are causing a problem with breathing and speech. In some cases, an adenoid removal may solve these problems, but in other cases, it could cause a different set of problems. If the surgery is successful, and there are no other issues, then a speech pathologist can help you and your child learn how to properly pronounce the sounds that your adenoids made difficult before surgery.

Reach out to a company like Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head to learn more.