Resonance Disorders

Resonance Disorders

The two most common types of resonance disorders are:

  1. Hypernasal - occurs when too much air is coming out the nasal passage when speaking. The child’s voice has a ‘nasal twang’
  2. Hyponasal – occurs when not enough air is coming out of the nasal passage when speaking. The child sounds like he/she has a cold.
There is typically a physical reason for a hypernasal or hyponasal resonance problem. Hypernasality often results from an inability to completely seal off the nasal cavity from the mouth. This is typically found in children born with cleft-lip and palate, but can occur for other reasons. Hyponasality often results from a blockage between the mouth and the nasal cavity. The most common blockage is enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Once again, there may be additional reasons for hyponasality.

Less commonly, a child may have a hyponasal or hypernasal resonance imbalance that is not structurally related. In these cases, the child has “taught” him/herself to speak in this manner for no apparent physical reason.

If your child has a hyponasal or hypernasal quality to their voice you may wish to contact your family physician. It is important to determine if there is a physical or structural reason for the resonance imbalance before pursuing intervention from a speech-language pathologist. A referral to an Ear-Nose and Throat specialist may be made.