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  • Lexi Langlois, MA, SLP-CFY

February is Kids ENT Health Month

Image by gpointstudio on Freepik

February is Kids ENT Month. Did you know there can be an association between ENT concerns and speech and language development?

Young children are more likely to have ear, nose, and throat conditions than adults. In fact, ENT concerns are the primary reason children visit their pediatrician. Some concerns may be outgrown with age, but some issues can negatively impact speech and language development. These include middle ear infections, tonsillitis, and adenoiditis. Here are a few ENT concerns that can impact speech and language:

  • Hypo-nasal Speech can sound nasally, as if the child has a cold. These children have difficulty with “m” and “n” sounds. This is commonly caused by inflamed adenoids as air cannot pass through nasal cavity easily.

  • Hyper-nasal Speech occurs when too much air leaves the nose and may be due to cleft palate or poor muscle control (such as in cerebral palsy). Children can have difficulty with consonants “b, k, s” or vowels “a, e.”

  • Middle Ear Infections occur when fluid builds up in ears and children may have difficulty hearing sounds clearly for a long period if undiagnosed. If a child has recurrent infections, pressure equalizing tubes may be inserted to allow fluid drainage, which will help speech production.

So, when do you need to see an ENT? If you notice the above problems, we recommend talking with your pediatrician and your speech language pathologist. Additionally, if your child's speech and language skills were progressing well and then seemed to stop or "go backwards," you should visit an ENT to ensure an ear, nose or throat problem is not contributing.


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