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Velopharyngeal Insufficiency Symptoms

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What is velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI)?

Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is the inability of the soft palate to meet with the back of the tongue due to a lack of tissue during development. This function of the mouth is necessary for everyday tasks, such as speaking, breathing and swallowing. Almost all of the sounds in the English language are created by airflow through the mouth. When children are unable to create these sounds due to VPI, they may suffer from speech delay and other speech, swallowing, or breathing problems.

What causes velopharyngeal insufficiency in children?

VPI can be caused by structural problems, like a cleft palate, as well as other, less common reasons, including a side effect of certain throat surgeries or due to weak throat muscles.

What are the symptoms of velopharyngeal insufficiency in children?

Most children who are suffering from velopharyngeal insufficiency have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Hearing loss
  • Trouble making sounds in everyday speech
  • Difficulty putting words together
  • Weak speech muscles

How is velopharyngeal insufficiency treated?

There are special speech appliances that is worn in the mouth, and helps your child to speak and breathe without trouble. Speak with your doctor at New York ENT to determine if your child needs a speech mouth appliance for VPI. Additionally, there are advanced surgical procedures available with New York ENT that can help to correct deformities of the mouth and help correct the underlying causes of VPI. Speak with your doctor to find out more.

If your child is suffering from VPI, the first step is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating VPI. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.

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