We’ve all seen the trope on TV of the nerdy character with the nasally voice.
Even though that trope can be charming, it can be distressing for your child if their voice makes them feel alienated from others.
Nasally voices can be caused by hypernasality disorder, which means that air is coming out of your child’s nose instead of their mouth when they’re speaking.
While this is often not a big deal, if it’s severe enough your child might not easily be understood by their peers.
There could also be a physical reason that their voice is traveling through their nose rather than their mouth.
Of course, hypernasality can affect adults as well, creating similar issues.
If this conundrum sounds familiar to your household, we’re Voz, a Washington DC speech therapy clinic, and we can help.
Keep reading to find out more about hypernasality, its causes, and what you can do.
What Does It Mean To Have A Nasal Voice?
A nasally voice, also known as hypernasality, is a voice that sounds like it’s coming through your nose instead of your mouth.
This may also be called a resonance disorder.
Resonance describes the vibrations of sound as air passes through parts of your nose and mouth while you’re speaking.
If you or your child’s hypernasality is present enough they may not be easily understood by those around them.
There could be a specific reason your child has a nasal voice, so you may want to be aware of the various causes.
What Is Hypernasality Caused By?
Usually, having a nasally voice means that air isn’t traveling correctly when you talk.
Faulty structuring in your mouth could make air travel into the nasal cavity instead.
There’s a valve that separates your nose from your mouth called the velopharyngeal valve.
When you’re breathing, this valve stays open.
When you speak, the soft palate at the back of your mouth closes the valve, allowing air to flow into your mouth.
The palate is the tissue in the back of your mouth, and if there’s an opening it could cause a nasal voice.
One cause of this issue could be a cleft palate, a condition that’s present at birth.
Sometimes even after the cleft palate has been repaired the nasal quality of your child’s voice persists.
Perhaps their velopharyngeal valve is shorter than usual, or there’s some other complication.
Neurological disorders can cause this speech disorder as well, such as cerebral palsy or a traumatic brain injury.
RELATED: Cleft Lip And Cleft Palate Speech Therapy
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypernasality?
The main symptom of hypernasality is your child’s voice.
It will sound like the air is coming through their nose rather than their mouth when they’re speaking, and that’s the most classic symptom of hypernasality.
If they have previously had a cleft palate, that’s another clue that they may be experiencing hypernasality.
There’s a vibration that may occur along the sides of your child’s nose if they’re experiencing hypernasality that you can feel for by pressing lightly there.
If you’re not sure, a speech therapy evaluation for toddlers can help.
On the other hand, if you’re an adult with a nasal voice, we can also do a speech therapy assessment on you.
In either case, speech therapy for adults and for toddlers can help with hypernasality.
Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to find out how.
Is Hypernasality A Voice Disorder?
Technically, hypernasality is not considered a voice disorder.
Voice disorders are their own category of disorders that have specific implications.
However, because hypernasality involves your child’s voice and is often lumped in with other resonance disorders, it may be treated as such.
RELATED: Speech Therapy For Voice Disorders
How Is Hypernasality Treated With Speech Therapy?
The first step is to assess whether hypernasality is behind your or your child’s symptoms.
Assuming it is, your speech therapist can try a number of different approaches.
- Having you speak with different volumes
- Addressing your tongue position while speaking – a lower position might help
- Teaching you to speak in different pitches to see which has less nasality
- Helping you hear what oral vs. nasal resonance sounds and feels like in you and in those around them
- Help you pay more attention to your sinuses and nasal area
- Suggesting you speak with their mouth more open
- Giving consistent feedback on your speech so you can tell when you sound nasally
- Using visual cues so you can see if air is coming out of your nose – sometimes using a mirror under the nose can do this
- Helping you imitate oral resonance
Ideally, speech therapy will help you gain confidence and help you to be more easily understood by those around you.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
Have you noticed your or your child’s voice has a nasal quality, and now you think it might be hypernasality?
It never hurts to chat with a speech therapist to see how we can help you out.
Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to get started.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.