Consequences of cleft lips and palates

Consequences of cleft lips and palates

Clefts in the area of the lip, palate and jaw have severe functional and social consequences for the affected child as several vital and social-communicative functions converge in this sensitive area of the head.

In the cases of a cleft palate, an open connection with the nasal cavity is the result and considerable or even life-threatening problems with suckling, drinking and swallowing can arise. Even after the closure of the cleft palate, the children’s muscles in the throat area are flabby. When swallowing, there is not enough natural pressure equalization in the middle ear. One can imagine this like when you would not swallow at the start of an aircraft in order to equalize the pressure in the ear. By the lack of pressure balance the ventilation of the middle ear is limited, which can lead to fluid retention and hence to middle ear infections. The children suffer from constant feeling of pressure in the ear and have often slight earache. Especially fatal, is that these children by the fluid congestion in the middle ear hear up to 20-30 decibels worse. This leads to learn problems with speaking. At the same time the dysfunctionality in the mouth-jaw-throat area complicates the correct forming of the sounds and the correct speech.

The psychosocial consequences for the child can also be quite considerable if it is subject to teasing as a result of the deformation.