What is Resonance Disorder & How is it Treated?

What Is Resonance Disorder?

Resonance Disorder is a form of a speech disorder which is caused basically by an abnormality in the flow of air through the mouth and the nasal cavity during speaking. During speaking, there is a good and balanced flow of air through the mouth except for the letters like “m”, “n”, and “ng” in which the air flows through the nasal cavity. In order for the air to escape through mouth during speaking the soft palate has to touch the back of the throat. This closes the velopharyngeal valve causing an individual to speak normally. At times when there is an obstruction or an opening that disrupt the way the air flows while speaking. This is what is termed as a Resonance Disorder.

What Is Resonance Disorder?

What Causes Resonance Disorder?

Cleft palate is believed to be the root cause for Resonance Disorder although there are certain chromosomal abnormalities which can also cause a child to have Resonance Disorder.

Children with speech disorders like speech apraxia may also tend to have Resonance Disorder. Enlargement of the adenoids may also cause Resonance Disorder. There are also certain neurological disorders that can result in development of Resonance Disorder.

When Resonance Disorder occurs as a result of incomplete closing of the opening between the mouth and nose then it is termed as Velopharyngeal Dysfunction. An individual with velopharyngeal dysfunction is also predisposed to having Resonance Disorder.

What Are The Symptoms Of Resonance Disorder?

Some of the symptoms of Resonance Disorder are:

  • Muffled speech
  • High pitched tone of voice
  • Speech that cannot be clearly understood by others
  • Nasal quality to sound when speaking

How Is Resonance Disorder Diagnosed?

Resonance Disorder can best be diagnosed by an ear, nose and throat physician or by a speech pathologist. The speech pathologist may analyze the speech of the child and his or her articulation by speaking to the child, giving the child a test to check the phonation of the child with specific letters of the alphabet.

A nasometry may also be performed in which the quality of the speech is compared to the quality of speech of a normal child and the deviation is calculated.

Nasal endoscopy may also be performed in which a scope will be inserted into the mouth and the palate and the back of the throat will be inspected looking for any abnormalities. These tests will conclusively confirm the diagnosis of Resonance Disorder.

How Is Resonance Disorder Treated?

The best way to treat Resonance Disorder is by surgery, although speech therapy and certain speech appliances can also be used for treating this condition.

The main aim in speech therapy is to help the child learn ways to use his or her tongue, lips, and jaws to control the flow of air through the mouth and thus correct the quality of speech.

Dental appliance in the form of an obturator may also be used for treatment of Resonance Disorder. An obturator is an appliance which prevents the air from escaping through the nose and minimizes the nasal quality of the voice of the child with Resonance Disorder.

Surgery is believed to be a permanent fix for Resonance Disorder, although the child will; need speech therapy before and even after the procedure to get the best results from surgery. There are basically two types of surgery done to correct Resonance Disorder. These surgeries are:

Furlow Palatoplasty: This procedure is designed to bring the muscles of the palate into a more normal position thus restoring the normal quality of speech in the child.

Sphincter Pharyngoplasty: This is yet another procedure done for Velopharyngeal Insufficiency. In this procedure, tissue is moved from the side of the throat to the back of the throat in such a way that the soft palate is able to touch the throat and thus normal speech pattern is restored and the child is said to be treated from Resonance Disorder.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 24, 2022

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