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Stuttering Or Stammering – Causes, Treatments {All You Need To Know}

Aparajita SharmaReviewed by Ms. Aprajita Sharma Sr. Audiologist and Speech Therapist BASLP, MPH (Epidemiology) on Apr 22nd, 2019 written by Editorial Team

What is Stuttering or Stammering?

Stammer and Stutter are two different words with the same meaning and both terms are used in speech therapy. Stammering is a disease that is defined via various behaviors that interfere with the forward flow of speech. A stutter is a type of speech disorder when your speech is involuntarily broken up by repetitive sounds or blocks where you can’t quite say the sounds you want to.

Mostly stuttering starts in children of an early age when a child develops its speaking skills. Stuttering affects about 5 percent of children aged 2 to 5. If you start to stutter in adulthood, you should take it seriously and consult with a doctor.

People who stutter may escape certain words or situations which they know will cause them difficulty. Have you ever had a difficult time organizing your words when you had to speak in front of a large audience? Normally, even fluent speakers can display messy speech when nervous.

There are 3 types of Stammering

  • Developmental:- This type of stammering occurs in children who are younger than 5 years old.  It does not need any treatment. It resolves within a time.
  • Neurons disorder:- It is the disorder in the nerves that are connected to the brain.
  • Psychogenic:- In this thinking and reasoning power affected.

Difference Between Stammering and Stuttering

Some people might get confused between these two words. But, these are just two different words which are used to describe the same problem of an individual. ‘Stuttering’ is used more commonly in North America and Australia, while in Britain ‘stammering is mostly used.

There is no difference between “stammering” and “stuttering.” It is only a controversial difference, like saying “biscuits” instead of “cookies.”

Symptoms of Stuttering

Stuttering reflects the following symptoms which are as follows:

  • Shaking of the jaw
  • Face becoming red
  • The tension in the voice and face
  • Repetition of words or phrases
  • Rapid blinking of eyes while speaking
  • Addition of extra sounds between words.
  • Difficulty in starting a word.
  • Prolonging a word or sounds within a word.

Other things that happen because of stuttering:

  • It consumes a lot of energy (both physical as well as mental). Hence, a person finds it difficult to breathe and may even end up tensing up his/her neck, mouth, or hand muscles.
  • It is frustrating and embarrassing, and an individual often finds himself getting nervous before speaking.
  • Peer pressure or constant bullying from strangers leads to a person trying to get rid of stuttering as quickly as possible, this sometimes worsens the situation. The person has to be patient while dealing with this problem.

How Many People Has Stammering Affected?

According to studies it is founded that more than 5% of children whose age is under the five will have to face the stammering at some stage during their speech and language development. And about a quarter of these children develop serious stammering/stuttering in themselves without intervention during preschool years.

It is estimated that about 1% of the adult population stammers. The number of men who are stammering is more than the number of women. About 80% of the adult population who stammers are men.

Now a question arises in mind that how to stop stammering and stuttering? Firstly let’s see how it develop.

How do People Develop Stutter?

Some general causes are:

  • Inability to control the muscles of the speech organ
  • Genetic disorder
  • Anxiety, stress, and shame
  • Neuromuscular problems
  • Difficulty in the movement of the tongue and lips

Experts are also researching for the cause of the stuttering occurs in a child. Some of them include:

1. Genetics

Research also believes that most of the stuttering occurs due to genetic. If you are suffering from the stuttering problem then there must be one of your family member stutters. 60 percent of people go with this genetic problem.

2. Development Stuttering

This occurs in very small children mostly 18months-2years. When they started learning about speech and learning skills, the stuttering occurs in a temporary manner. It is not for the permanent thing, it fades away when the child grows up in the next phase.

3. Neurological Stuttering

This mostly occurs when your speech nerves and the muscles are not working properly. This mostly affects the children but sometimes it also affects the speech in adults after a stroke or some severe brain accidents like head trauma, tumors, ischemic tumors.

4. Psychogenic Stuttering

It is defined as stuttering that results from a traumatic event. Because of that fact, we usually see this developing in adulthood. If anyone experiences a psychological disturbance or emotionally traumatic event, the result may be psychogenic stuttering.

There are many different approaches available to treat children and adults who stutter. Treatments for people who stutter include learning person skills, strategies, and behaviors that help oral communication. Treatment may not eliminate all stuttering, but it can teach skills that help to:

  • Improve speech fluency
  • Develop effective communication
  • Participate fully in school, work and social activities

Read more:- How does a stammer affect communication?

Why People Stutter or Stammer?

Well, the Broca’s area is associated with speech formation, alongside another part of the brain called the Wernicke’s area in the temporal lobe. They are part of the “neural language loop”, and are both necessary to produce clear and concise speech.

broca's area and Wernicke's area

The Wernicke’s area is the part where you choose which words you want to say and in which order. It’s like a behind the scenes blueprint or a storyboard for your speech. This information is then fed into the Broca’s area which produces those words out loud, like a word factory.

For stutterers, their Wernicke’s area is able to put together the sentences, while the Broca’s area struggles to produce it. The worst part of this is that in society, people with stutters are often thought to be dumber, simply because they can’t get the words out when in reality, they are no less intelligent or eloquent than their non-stuttering counterparts.

Another study recently published in JAMA Psychiatry looked at the brains of 94 stuttering and non-stuttering children and adults. They found that the baseline brain activity – the way neurons fired signals – was different for stutterers in the regions of the brain associated with the regulation of speech production, attention, and emotion.

So the root causes of stuttering could be differences in brain circuits and blood flow. But stress and anxiety can also take a toll, making stuttering worse, because the parts of your brain associated with attention and language processing interact with the parts of your brain that regulate emotion.

Stuttering is a complicated condition, without any easy fixes. Those who suffer from it may be able to curb the tendency with the help of a speech therapist, and for others, like children, it may go away on its own. But these new developments certainly help point to the parts of the brain in question and may help scientists develop new solutions.

Types of Stammering

1. Neurogenic Stammering

Speech issues that are associated with a minor stroke may additionally only last for a few hours, however, they have to no longer be ignored. You should take a medical recommendation straight away.

2. Drug-Related Stammering

According to an article on an “Alcoholism drug”, drug-related stammering will almost certainly disappear completely if you stop using that drug.

3. Individual Cause of Stammering

However, but, if no cause is identifiable, that is called idiopathic stammering, this means that it relates only to the person worried and does not fall into any other category.

4. Stress-Related Stammering

The common reason for stress include a major bereavement or loss of a relationship, but almost any unexpected emotional challenge can be a trigger for a speech problem.

5. Re-Occurrence of a Childhood Stutter

Some people start stammering in early childhood, then stop stammering as they grow up but find it re-occur at some point in their adult life.

Type of Stutters

  • Sound or Syllable Repetition:- Repeating the first sound, or a few sounds of a word. ( H/h/h/h/he or Tha/Tha/thanks)
  • Whole word Repetitions:- Saying a word more than one time. (The/The/The)
  • Multiple Word Repetitions:- Saying more than one word more than one time. (He went/He went/He went)
  • Prolongations:- Getting Stuck of the first sound of a word for a few seconds. (Mmmmmmmmonkey)
  • Blocks:- Getting stuck when the first sound of a word won’t come out. (____________________Two)
  • Insertions:- Adding extra words in the middle of sentences. (Um or Uh)

Research on Stuttering

There are many researchers around the world who are trying to find ways for identifying the stuttering at the early stage and also their causes and treatment. For example, the scientists are carrying out their research to find out reasons for the stuttering that tends to run in the families by identifying the possible genes.

Researchers are also working along with the speech-language pathologist to identify which children are most likely to outgrow their stuttering and which children will continue to stammer at their adulthood. They are also trying to identifying the people who exhibit the same kind of stuttering pattern to find out their causes.

Scientists use the equipment like brain imaging tools such as PET (positron emission tomography) and functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to study brain activity in people who stutter.

Some facts about Stuttering

Stuttering facts
Stuttering facts
  • A stutter may be the result of a head injury.
  • Girls stutter less than boys. Almost the ration is 4:1
  • In Britain, the word ‘stammering’ is used in the place of stuttering.
  • There are an estimated 5,00,000 plus adult stammerers in the UK that is 1% of the adult population.
  • Over 3 million stammers in the USA.
  • There are around 70 million people in the world who suffer from it.
  • There is no known cause available for stammering but a combination of different factors are involved.
  • Stammering varies from time to time — Cyclic variation.
  • The October 22nd is International Stammering Awareness day.

Recognize the Risk Factors for Stuttering

Following are the risk factors associated with stuttering:

  • Gender: Boys stutter more as compare to girls.
  • Age when stutter starts: A child who starts stuttering before 3.5 years of age is less likely to stutter later in life. The earlier the stuttering starts, it continues for the long-term.
  • Family history: If a child or some close family member stutters, the chances of that speech disorder continuing is much greater.

Knowing these factors will help you decide whether or not your child needs speech therapy and require speech-language pathologist then determine whether to wait a bit longer or begin treatment right away.

How to Talk to Someone Who Stutters

Since talking to the person who stutters is not easy you actually don’t know how to behave and respond to them. So the common question is here the what is the best way to react or respond when a stutterer talks.

It may happen sometimes that the listener will look here and there when the stutterer talks or try to fill out the missing words and or some people simply try to avoid the people who stutter. This is not the right way to behave with someone. You should keep in the mind that the people who stutter also intend to communicate with others.

You should try to focus on the words that the stutterer is trying to say rather than focusing on how the word sounds. The listener should essentially represent patience, peace and, calm. An impatience listener makes it difficult for the stutterer to speak.

The attempt to fill out the missing words by the impatient people is done to help the stutterer but the stutterer might think as an interrupting or impatient behavior.

Stuttering Diagnosis and Treatment

When to consult a doctor or speech therapist

Experts say that consider doctor when:

  • Child stutter after the age of 5.
  • Children suffering from emotional difficulties, such as fear of places or situations.
  • The stuttering occurs more frequently.
  • It is accompanied by the tightness of the facial and upper body muscles.
  • The child’s stuttering has persisted for over 6 months.

To know the complete aspects of stuttering, the patient should be examined by a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

The SLP will record the problem of the individual while speaking. It also notes how often problems occur and how the person fights with the stutter.

The SLP may perform some other tests, such as speech rate and language skills. These assessments will depend on the patient’s age and history. The SLP determine whether there is a fluency disorder or not after getting all the data.

If there is a fluency disorder present in the individual, the SLP will determine to what level the disorder affects the patient’s ability to function and take part in daily activities.

It is very important to try to predict whether a young child’s stutter will become long-term. This can be fairly accurately done with the help of a series of assessments, and observations. Tests and Observations for older children and adults are aimed at gauging the severity of the disorder.

Treatment of Stuttering

Speech therapy in children will help the child, in learning to slow down your speech and notice when they stutter. Maybe it takes time when they begin the speech therapy. But over time, you can work up to a more natural speech pattern.

Breathing control as the patient practices prolonged speech, they also learn how to regulate breathing and do Abdominal breathing.

Electronic fluency devices are available to enhance fluency. It mimics your speech so that it sounds as if you’re talking in unison with someone else.

Parent-child interaction techniques used at home will help a child cope up with stuttering.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help you learn to identify and change ways of thinking that make your stuttering worse. It can also help you to overcome stress, depression causing hearing loss or self-esteem problems related to stuttering.

Additional Treatment for Stuttering

1. Fluency Shaping for Stammering

The goal of this new therapy was to replace stuttering completely with a new way of talking that allowed the person to talk without stuttering. It started with the production of a very slow unnatural sounding prolonging of sounds and syllables – but during this time the client did not stutter. Next, the rate and other factors were shaped gradually in steps to sound like normal, natural sounding speech.

2. Modification Therapy for Stammering

Researchers wanted to teach clients to “stutter more easily”. They taught techniques to reduce tension by training muscle relaxation during the moments of stuttering. Some of these procedures are “pull outs” (reducing tension during the stuttering moment) and “cancellations” (completing the stuttering moment and then going back over it with less tension). All of these were somewhat effective in reducing the severity of the stuttering moment, but the stuttering remained.

3. Accepting your stammer

The best therapy for any disorder is to accept your weakness or disorder. It generates self-individuality and self-esteem. As a result, it provides a strong base to work with the therapies.

Stuttering Speech Therapy

As you know, stuttering is the most common condition that causes difficulty in speaking fluently. A person having the problem of stuttering may only struggle with certain words or sounds. They may experience:

  • blocks, in which there is a long pause before being able to say a word
  • prolongations, in which certain sounds in a word are an extended
  • repetition of a word or part of a word

A speech therapist can greatly improve stuttering in the long term. The following techniques can help a person to avoid or reduce stuttering in everyday situations. These include:

  • Focus on breathing
  • Slow down
  • Try to avoid certain words
  • Speak with a rhythm
  • Visualize interactions
  • Use body movements to calm nerves

Home Remedy to Cure Stammering/Stuttering

Stammering cure can be done in the following ways. These include:

  • Brahmi oil is a very useful remedy.
  • Almond, Black Pepper paste and add sugar, use this past early morning on an empty stomach for at least one month.
  • Take a fresh green amla and eat as chewing it slowly, it helps to cure your stammering problem.
  • Cinnamomum Tamala (Tejpata)- Use this under the tongue for stutter treatment.
  • Take some bloated borax and mixed it into honey, gently rub this paste on the tongue. Help this treatment for a stutter.
  • The Ghee also helps to improve brain and memory power.

Top Exercises to Reduce Stammering in Children & Adults

The stammering solution for children and adults can be done in the following ways. Stammering exercises include:

  • Loudly and clearly pronounce the vowels A, E, I, O and U.
  • Breathing Exercises, stuttering often increases during times of stress and anxiety.
  • Drinking through a straw is one of the oral exercises that help to deal with stammering.
  • Reading exercises are helpful in the identification of patterns of repetition of words that cause stuttering and help to reduce.
  • Doing Jaw Technique for four to five reps of the exercise every night will bring great results.

Here is the brief description of some the exercises to be beneficial in reducing the intensity and in some cases, completely curing the disease.

Breathing Exercises

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, regulating the breathing may help reduce stuttering. One simple exercise called diaphragmatic breathing is used to recover the problem. This breath technique can help to become calmer and more relaxed, especially if anyone needs to speak in front of an audience or in another situation that makes them nervous.

If possible, sit in a quiet room where you’ll be undisturbed for a few moments. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Place one hand on your belly and notice how it rises and falls when you inhale and exhale. Deepen your breath and try to make your breathing slow and relaxed. Allow thoughts to flow out of your mind. Practice this technique for five minutes each day.

There are some ways to treat stuttering such as-

  • Controlling and watching speech rate with smooth fluent words or express at a low speed. You can also use short sentences.
  • To overcome stuttering one need to have speech therapy and figure out how to control breathing?
  • You can also control your stuttering with Abdominal breathing.
  • Speech treatment can be utilized as a treatment to the stammering. Therapy can help your child to improve pronunciation. The therapy enhances the rate of speech and breath support.
  • The other approach to treat stammering is an electronic gadget. It encourages youngsters to record their very own voice and hear it back so they can defeat their speech issue.

Progressive Relaxation

According to former stutterer T.D. Kehoe in his book, “Speech-Language Pathology — Stuttering,” progressive relaxation exercises that focus on relaxing the speech production muscles, such as the lips, tongue, jaw, and lungs can help reduce stuttering. Progressive relaxation is best performed while lying down with your eyes closed.

Take a few deep breaths, then focus on your jaw. Clench your jaw tightly for a few seconds, then allow it to relax completely. Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth as hard as you can for a few seconds, then allow it to relax completely. Press your lips together for a few seconds, then allow them to relax. Repeat this process four or five times.

Slow Speech Exercise

Practicing what you want to say beforehand can help reduce stuttering, especially if you slow your vowels and relax your breathing, according to Kehoe. Take deep, slow breaths. Practice in front of a mirror, slowly increasing the speed of your sentences until you are speaking at a normal pace.

Reading Exercises

Just as with the slow speech exercise, reading exercises can reduce stuttering by slowing your vowels, concentrating on your breathing and trying to relax. Read a paragraph out of your favorite book without placing any pressure or stress on yourself to get it right. Just relax and read, trying to enjoy the process instead of focusing on not stuttering. If you stutter, keep reading and don’t blame yourself. Practice reading out loud for half an hour every day.

Self-Therapy for the Stutterer

Talk in front of the mirror

One of the best cures for stammering is pronouncing all the alphabets loudly and clearly while standing in front of a mirror. Be confident and twist your face strongly, every time you utter the vowels. Repeat this every day at least for 20-30 minutes.

Analyze your breathing pattern:

Take some deep breaths before you start speaking in order to stop stammering, it will pacify you and release nervousness. One can observe that people who stammer often forget to breathe once they begin talking. Don’t do that. Instead, pause and give yourself some time to breathe, and try to tackle the word or phrase again.

Consult a speech therapist

Consulting a therapist is a guaranteed help and an effective way to overcome any kind of speech disorder. Therapists will determine each and every cause and effect of stammering and prescribe medicines or suggest exercises based on that.

Read books aloud

Ensure that you get down to the habit of reading loud and fast. Take anything like a newspaper, magazine or a textbook and practice it on a daily basis. This method helps to identify the specific words that are causing you to stutter and lets you concentrate on those in the future. Repeat this for 2-3 months regularly and you will definitely see a positive change in your speech.

Try speaking in rhythm

Singing is the most effective way to cure stammering. If not proper singing, people suffering from speech disorder must develop the habit of speaking in rhythm. This gives a flow to their sentences and they are able to speak without any pause or break in between. Practice it for 2-3 months, it makes the cure an enjoyable ride.

Positive Visualization

Positive visualization can be a great help for those who stutter. Visualizing something that gives you happiness will help you to be relaxed and thus reduce stammering. This technique is also followed by many renowned speakers.

Pace Yourself

This technique can really be helpful, especially for those who want to be stage performers but still dealing with stuttering. Try to get a pace for your body by a steady walk and recite whatever you want while walking. You will notice that you didn’t stutter or mumble and even if you did, it will reduce.

Remember, stammering is not a disease and can be cured easily if done at the right age and time. It is also a serious condition in some cases as it causes shortening of breath due to:

  • Physical weakness because of a disease
  • Any kind of fear
  • Imitating other people who stutter
  • Accident or any other mishappening

Instead of bullying or judging people having this problem, give them a hand. Help them out with the piece of information we stated above.

Myths about Stammering/Stuttering

  • One of the biggest myth about stuttering or stammering is intelligence. Some people believe that the people who stammer are less intelligent. But this is not true the people who stammer have the same range of intelligence as the normal people have. We should not get confused between the speed of speech and speech of thought. The people having stammering can think with the normal speed like the others.
  • Some people think that the stammering is due to nerves but this is not so. The stammering is due to the wiring in the brain or we can say that stammering is neurological. It is not necessary that the people who stammer are more nervous than the others.

Famous Persons Who Suffered From Stuttering

There are so many celebrities who also suffered from stutter problem. Some of them are:

  • Isaac Newton (Famous Scientist)
  • Marilyn Monroe (Most Beautiful Actress of film History)
  • Hrithik Roshan (Bollywood Actor)
  • Julia Roberts (Best American Actress)
  • Tiger Woods (Best Golfer)
  • Rowan Atkinson (Mr.Bean Funniest Stand Up Comedian)
  • Peter Murphy (Greatest Dancing Singer)
  • Ed Sheeran (Britain’s Famous Singer)

But they overcame their problem and hence became a milestone for everyone.

So it is very obvious that stuttering can be overcome if we put real effort towards it.

National Stuttering Association (NSA)

There is the largest non-profit organization present for stutter which was founded in California in January 1977 by Bob Goldman & Michael Sugarman on the community. The organization is the National Stuttering Association (NSA). This organization tries their best in bringing hope and empowerment to children and adults who stutter, their families, and professionals, through support, education, advocacy, and research.

Conclusion

There is no difference between stuttering and stammering. The best way to diagnose stuttering is to detect symptoms early and concerned the specialist and get treatment as soon as possible. The stuttering can be varied from person to person. It basically influences the children mostly but it also influences the adults. Concerned a specialist and start your treatment as soon as possible.

If you suspect any type of speech disorder, the very first step is to consult professional right away. So Book your schedule with us. Give us a call on our toll-free 1800-121-4408.

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Stuttering Or Stammering – Causes, Treatments {All You Need To Know}
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