When you think about speech pathology, you probably think about small children. Although it is certainly more common for children to suffer from speech issues rather than adults who have never had speech problems in the past, kids aren't the only ones who can suddenly begin to suffer from a speech-related disorder. If you or someone you know has recently started having trouble speaking clearly, you could be wondering what could be causing this problem. These are just a few of the more common causes of adult-onset speech disorders.
1. Drug Use
Drug use can affect many different parts of your body. You probably already knew that it could affect your internal organs and your thought processes, but you might not have realized that it can also affect your speech. Drug use can affect the part of your brain that helps you speak, and it can also cause muscle damage in your face and issues with your throat. All of these things can lead up to a speech impediment.
2. Diabetic Neuropathy
If you are a diabetic, suffering from higher sugar levels can lead to nerve damage, which can affect both your brain and your speech. If you have diabetes speech is becoming more difficult, you will need to see your physician as soon as possible. Also, even if you don't know that you have diabetes, there is a chance that you have not yet been diagnosed and are suffering from this condition anyway.
3. Hearing Loss
When you cannot hear yourself talking, it can be difficult to speak clearly. Hearing loss occurs in many adults and can happen quite gradually, and you might not have even realized that you have hearing loss or that it is as severe as it is. Regardless, hearing loss could be affecting the way that you speak.
4. Throat Issues
Issues with your throat can obviously make it difficult for you to speak clearly. The issue could be as minor as long-term irritation or could be as serious as a throat tumor. You could have also stressed out your throat, which is common among singers and other performers.
5. Brain Trauma
Any type of brain trauma can affect the way that you speak. You could have recently suffered a concussion or could be dealing with a brain tumor, for example.
As you can see, there are a wide range of different issues that can cause speech disorders among adults. Some of these issues are very serious, so it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible to get to the bottom of the problem. Luckily, a good ear, nose and throat doctor should be able to help you with diagnosing the problem and getting your speech back.