Stuttering: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Stuttering is a speech disorder in which normal speech is disrupted by sounds, syllables, or words being repeated or prolonged. Stuttering may be accompanied by other behaviors such as lip or jaw tremors or rapid blinking of the eyes. Stuttering is most common in young children who are acquiring language skills, but it persists into adulthood in some people.

There are a variety of treatments for stuttering.
There are a variety of treatments for stuttering.

Signs and symptoms of stuttering include

  • difficulty starting a word,
  • phrase or sentence,
  • prolonging a word or sounds within a word,
  • repetition of a sound, syllable or word,
  • excess tension, tightness, or movement of the face or upper body to produce a word.

Other associated symptoms and signs can include

  • anxiety about talking,
  • inability to effectively communicate,
  • clenching of the fists,
  • facial tics, or
  • head jerks.

Cause of stuttering

Medical professionals do not understand the exact cause of most cases of stuttering. Certain cases of stuttering may begin after a stroke or brain injury.

Other stuttering symptoms and signs

  • Anxiety About Talking
  • Difficulty Starting a Word or Sentence
  • Excess Tension of the Face to Produce a Word
  • Facial Tics
  • Head Jerks
  • Inability to Communicate Effectively
  • Repetition of a Sound

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.