Speech

Speech is the ability to give voice to words and sounds. The organs of speech are the larynx (voicebox) located in the throat. Speech symptoms include hoarseness, voice symptoms, deep voice, high voice, and other symptoms. Speech disorders include larynx disorders (e.g. laryngitis, larynx cancer, larynx cysts, etc.) and other cognitive difficulties with speech disorders (e.g. stuttering, vocal tics, etc.). Read more about: Voice Symptoms, Speech Disorders

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Humans express thoughts, feelings, and ideas orally to one another through a series of complex movements that alter and mold the basic tone created by voice into specific, decodable sounds. Speech is produced by precisely coordinated muscle actions in the head, neck, chest, and abdomen. Speech development is a gradual process that requires years of practice. During this process, a child learns how to regulate these muscles to produce understandable speech.

However, by the first grade, roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders; the majority of these speech disorders have no known cause. One category of speech disorder is fluency disorder, or stuttering, which is characterized by a disruption in the flow of speech. It includes repetitions of speech sounds, hesitations before and during speaking, and the prolonged emphasis of speech sounds. More than 15 million individuals in the world stutter, most of whom began stuttering at a very early age. The majority of speech sound disorders in the preschool years occur in children who are developing normally in all other areas. Speech disorders also may occur in children who have developmental disabilities.

Source: NIDCD (NIH)1

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What are voice, speech, and language?

Voice, speech, and language are the tools we use to communicate with each other.

Voice is the sound we make as air from our lungs is pushed between vocal folds in our larynx, causing them to vibrate.

Speech is talking, which is one way to express language. It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions of the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds that make up language.

Language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or making other gestures, such as eye blinking or mouth movements.

Source: NIDCD (NIH)2

Introduction: Speech

How is speech normally produced?

We make speech sounds through a series of precisely coordinated muscle movements involving breathing, phonation (voice production), and articulation (movement of the throat, palate, tongue, and lips). Muscle movements are controlled by the brain and monitored through our senses of hearing and touch.

Source: NIDCD (NIH)3

Introduction: Speech

Humans express thoughts, feelings, and ideas orally to one another through a series of complex movements that alter and mold the basic tone created by voice into specific, decodable sounds. Speech is produced by precisely coordinated muscle actions in the head, neck, chest, and abdomen. Speech development is a gradual process that requires years of practice. During this process, a child learns how to regulate these muscles to produce understandable speech.

Source: NIDCD (NIH)4

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Speech: Communication through a system of conventional vocal symbols.5

Anatomy Articles

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Symptom Articles

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  • Speech symptoms: Speech symptoms include difficulty with speaking, which may include disorders of the mouth, tongue, larynx, and oral regions. There are also various symptoms of the brainís processing of speech ...

      ... More on Speech symptoms  »

  • Hoarseness: What is hoarseness? If you are hoarse, your voice will sound breathy, raspy, or strained, or will be softer in volume or lower in pitch. Your throat might feel scratchy6 ...

      ... More on Hoarseness  »

  • Voice Symptoms: Voice symptoms may include hoarseness or voice changes such as nasal speech. The voice is controlled by the larynx, which is inside the throat. Causes of voice symptoms range from ...

      ... More on Voice Symptoms  »

  • Vocal tics: Vocal tics are sounds that a person makes with his or her voice. Examples of vocal tics include humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase. Source7 ...

      ... More on Vocal tics  »

Disease and Condition Articles

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References

  1. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ what-is-voice-speech-language
  2. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ speech-and-language
  3. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ stuttering
  4. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ what-is-voice-speech-language
  5. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  6. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ hoarseness
  7. Source: CDC NCBDDD: cdc.gov/ ncbddd/ tourette/ facts.html
  8. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ speech-and-language
  9. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ hoarseness
  10. Source: NCI (NIH): cancer.gov/ publications/ patient-education/ wyntk-larynx.pdf
  11. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ stuttering
  12. Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ developmentaldisabilities.html

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.