More than 70 million people around the world stutter when they speak. Stuttering is a speech disorder that causes the repetition of sounds and words, the prolongation of sounds, or stoppages that interrupt the flow of speech. Around four times as many men as women stutter, though stuttering can affect individuals of any age or sex. Many people wonder what causes stuttering. There are several types of stutters with a variety of possible causes.
Most health care professionals recognize three forms of stuttering: developmental, neurogenic, and psychogenic. Developmental stuttering most commonly appears in children under the age of five. As children develop their language and speech abilities, they may experience issues vocalizing their thoughts. Neurogenic stutters are the result of issues that inhibit the abilities of the brain, nerves, or muscles to send and receive the signals that enable speech. Psychogenic stutters originate from the area of the brain that controls thinking and reasoning. Originally, medical experts thought all stutters had a psychological cause and were therefore psychogenic. Doctors now know this is incorrect and realize that psychogenic stutters are rare.
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