Speech & Language Disorders

Hearing Impairment

Hearing impaired individuals suffer from partial or full inability to detect sounds which most people can hear. There are a number of different kinds of hearing impairment with all types varying from mild to severe and then profound:

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when the outer or middle parts of the ear do not accurately pick up on sound wave. This can often be helped with hearing aid or grommet insertion.
  • Glue ear (a type of conductive loss) is a condition many children suffer from and it occurs from a build up of sticky fluid behind the eardrum.
  • Sensori-neural hearing loss is an inner ear difficulty whereby the cells which convert sound to neural messages or the nerves connecting the ear to the brain do not function correctly.

Hearing loss of any kind will require intervention by an ENT Consultant and Audiologist. In cases where hearing loss is detected later than 1 year old, speech and language therapy is often indicated as the child will have missed a significant amount of language input in his/her environment and can present with language or pronunciation difficulties as a result.

In cases of mild or moderate hearing loss, language development can be improved significantly with intervention. In cases of severe or profound hearing loss, your Speech and Language Therapist can advise you on non-verbal communication techniques such as sign language. Cochlear implant is also a possible intervention for children with this sort of hearing loss.

It is highly advisable that if you have a young child who can be non-responsive, has difficulty learning language and is showing signs of delay, you should contact a Speech and Language Therapist.

For more information on hearing loss and support networks available, contact: www.deafhear.ie


Cleft Palate

A cleft lip is caused when the upper lip has not fused together properly resulting in a gap between the upper lip and nose.

A cleft palate occurs when the roof of the mouth has not joined together fully. The severity of this can range from a small hole or fissure to a gaping hole. A cleft lip has usually undergone surgical repair by the time the child is three months and a cleft palate by one year.

Cleft lip and palate may be the cause of feeding difficulties, speech and language problems, ear infection and dental issues.

A Speech and Language Therapist plays a major role in identifying and treating feeding, speech and language difficulties in children with cleft lip/palate.

For more information visit the following Cleft dedicated websites: www.cleft.ie & www.clapa.ie


Stammering is a speech disorder in which the fluency of speech is halted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, and/or involuntary silent pauses and/or blocks. Stammering can be variable in severity across different settings. Stammering affects approximately 5% of the Irish population at some point in life. It’s important to have a child with a stammer seen by a Speech and Language Therapist in order to determine appropriate timing for intervention. Our therapists are trained in the Lidcombe early intervention programme for stammering which is extremely successful.

It is thought that between 1-2% of the adult population have a stammer, some of whom have their stammer under control through taught techniques. Long term stammering can also be associated with low self- esteem issues, avoidance of speaking in certain situations, and physical movements which also occur in conjunction with stammering.

The cause of stammering is not definite. However, most recent research indicates a genetic cause in stammering.

A Speech and Language Therapist will be able to advise you on stammering and the best approach suited to you/your child. With young children who present with a stammer, it is best to have them assessed as soon as possible to determine the nature and severity of the stammer. A stammer lasting more than 5-6 months can become habitual and so fluency shaping, and modification can be very effective. With adults, fluency shaping and management techniques such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can be useful. As with most therapy, a continuous and supportive method of intervention is very important. Some more information on stammering is available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttering