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3 Types of Speech Disorders & How Neurosurgery Can Help

Speech disorders are a form of communication disorders that affect an individual’s ability to speak coherently or effectively. These disorders interfere with the speech formation process and prevent the person from creating the proper speech sounds or words.

Here’s a look at some of the most common speech disorders and how neurosurgery may be able to treat them.

Concept representing individuals with speech disorders having trouble choosing their words


Apraxia impairs an individual’s motor skills and affects their ability to speak coherently or correctly. It’s caused by brain damage and influences the way the brain controls a person’s speech.

For instance, it interferes with the speech signals needed for moving the tongue, opening or closing the vocal cords, shaping the lips, or even controlling the movement of air through the mouth and throat. All of this then affects the individual’s ability to form the correct speech sounds and words, even when they know what they want to say aloud.


Stuttering is a speech disorder that is characterized by long pauses between words and repetition of words. It’s often exacerbated when a person is either excited or nervous, causing them to delay speech. Typically, individuals who stutter tend to experience three types of disruptions:

·         Repetitions: These occur when the person involuntarily repeats words, vowels, or sounds while speaking.

·         Blocks: These occur when the individual experiences difficulty in forming the right word or the correct speech sound even though they know what they want to say. It appears as if the words are stuck, and they’re unable to “spit them out.”

·         Prolongations: These happen when a person involuntarily draws out a particular word or sound.

A man upset because of his speech disorder


Dysarthria is a speech disorder typically associated with brain damage or injury. It occurs when the damage caused to the brain affects the facial muscles, making it difficult for an individual to form words with their lips or tongue. Since the muscles in the jaw and the mouth are too weak to shape the right words properly, it results in slurred speech.

Individuals who have dysarthria typically:

·         Tend to mumble or have slurred speech

·         Are unable to speak loudly or too quickly

·         Face difficulty moving their mouth or tongue to shape words

Using Neurosurgery for Speech Disorders

Neurosurgery is just one of the many medical interventions that have been used to successfully treat some speech disorders. Depending on your specific condition, the neurosurgeons at Houston Physicians’ Hospital may be able to help. We have had success using the best and most effective practices to help patients overcome speech disorders. Consult your doctor before embarking on any treatments for your condition.

Visit our Find A Doctor Page to find a neurosurgeon that’s right for you. Plus, you can learn how our neurosurgery services can help treat various speech and communication disorders. Houston Physicians’ Hospital also provides treatments for back and neck pain, knee replacement, and general surgery.