Cleft > Effects 

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 part 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 muscles in the area of the throat can remain flaccid. The natural process of swallowing does not create a sufficient pressure equalisation to the middle ear. The effects are similar to when sitting in a plane during take-off and not swallowing to compensate for the change in pressure. The lack of negative pressure can additionally restrict the ventilation of the middle ear, leading to a chronic infection of the middle ear. The children suffer under the constant feeling of pressure in their ears and are often affected by earaches. On top of all of this, the gathering of liquid in the middle ear leads to the children hearing at a level of between 20 to 30 decibels below normal, which in turn leads to problems when learning how to talk. And the dysfunctionality of the mouth and jaw area prevent them from correctly articulating sounds and the right pronunciation of words. <br/><br/> The psychosocial consequences for the child can also be quite considerable if it is subject to teasing and humiliation as a result of the deformation or has to grow up in isolation.