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Pacifier Overuse May Harm Speech Skills, Researchers Find

ASHA Members Will Discuss Research And Implications During 2010 ASHA Convention In Philadelphia

Editors: First Author Available For Interviews During And After Convention

(Rockville, MD - November 16, 2010)  

Research seems to indicate that pacifier use may negatively affect the speech skills of children if used for a longer time than is typical, according to researchers who will be presenting their findings during the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Annual Convention in Philadelphia this week.

According to ASHA member Danielle LaPrairie and her co-presenters, the presence of a pacifier in the mouth may interfere with the development of the tongue tip movement needed for the production of certain speech sounds.

"There isn't a gold standard in the pacifier literature about an ideal age to eliminate pacifier use. Opinions vary," LaPrairie says. "However, a study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that children who continue to use a pacifier past age 2 increased their risk of developing protruding front teeth and an improper bite, which can affect speech production. Our study highlights the importance of continued research with pacifier use and the possible effects on speech articulation."

The researchers will discuss their findings on Thursday, November 18, at 10:00 a.m. in Hall C at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (Effect of Prolonged Pacifier Use on Speech Articulation, Session 1313, Poster Board 327).

Their presentation is part of ASHA's Annual Convention, which begins November 18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Convention will feature 3 days of workshops, paper sessions, poster presentations, and the Keynote Session by Nancy Goodman Brinker (Founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation), plus the Annie Glenn Award, which will be given to performing artist and "New Kid on the Block" Joey McIntyre. The Convention runs through Saturday, November 20.

These important findings are one example of the research being discussed during ASHA's Annual Convention. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists, as well as other speech, language, and hearing scientists, gather every year at ASHA's Convention to share their research with their colleagues. This sharing of information results in better care for the people they serve.


About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 140,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.

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