Speech-Language Pathology
Causes of Disorders



Causes of Disorders

The cause of a communication disorder is not always known. However, common causes include abnormal structures (oral, pharyngeal, or laryngeal), oral-motor dysfunction, neurological problems or brain injury, learning problems, and hearing loss. Causes of feeding or swallowing disorders include structural abnormalities and neurological problems.

High-Risk Populations

Conditions that contribute to communication or feeding / swallowing disorders include:

  • Hearing loss or deafness
  • Family history of hearing loss or deafness 
  • History of chronic otitis media (ear infections)
  • Congenital auditory anomalies
  • Auditory processing disorder (APD)
  • Long-term hospitalization or stay in an orphanage
  • Sensory deprivation (hearing or vision)
  • Tracheostomy
  • Ventilator dependency
  • Tracheal stenosis
  • Vocal fold pathology, paralysis or paresis
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) 
  • Brainstem injuries
  • Neurological disease, injury or dysfunction
  • Cranial nerve dysfunction
  • Prematurity or birth trauma
  • Cleft palate or submucous cleft
  • Dental malocclusion
  • Macroglossia (large tongue)
  • Tongue thrust 
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • History of significant feeding or swallowing difficulties
  • Choking on foods
  • Excessive drooling
  • Chronic open-mouth posture or front-tongue position
  • Autism
  • Psychosis or schizophrenia

Contact Us

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For more information about the Division of Speech-Language Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s, contact us at 513-636-4341 or at speech.pathology@cchmc.org.