How to Help Hypernasal Speech in Children

Three Methods:Blowing Cotton BallsBlowing Bubbles with a WandBlowing a Kazoo

Hypernasal speech is when the airflow you use to speak with is resonated in your nose. This means when you start talking more of your air comes out your nose or in other words, you’re talking with your nose instead of your mouth. Resonance is an easier definition to remember. Resonance is speaking, but your air may be in your nose or mouth. To help children avoid hypernasal speech, it's wise to see a speech therapist, and you can try some fun activities and exercises at home to help, too.


  1. 1
    Talk to a doctor. The doctor can help identify the cause of hypernasal speech, such as a cleft palate, deep pharynx, lesions on the brain, or other causes.[1] Sometimes the child simply needs speech therapy, where in more drastic cases, surgery or prosthetics may be necessary.[2] Early detection and treatment can help your child be understood better and blend in more with their peers.
  2. 2
    Look into speech therapy. A speech pathologist can help you figure out how to proceed. Check with your child's school and your insurance company to see what sort of services you can get.
  3. 3
    Try exercises at home. There are several exercises that encourage your child to blow through their mouth in order to support their speaking abilities.

Method 1
Blowing Cotton Balls

  1. 1
    Gather a cup, a cotton ball, two straws, and arts and crafts supplies (optional). Choose straight straws, not curly ones.
  2. 2
    Place the cup upside down on a table. Place a cotton ball on top of the cup. The cotton ball can be plain, or you can decorate it with colors or faces.
  3. 3
    Find ways to decorate the setup as desired. You and the child could work together to decorate the cotton ball or a plastic cup. Or, try setting up a "goal zone" to blow the cotton ball into.
  4. 4
    Demonstrate the process to the child. Place a straw between your lips and blow the cotton ball off the cup. Offer them a try. If the child is picky about germs, let them use their own straw.
  5. 5
    Take turns blowing the cotton ball. Make it into a game and try to blow the ball in different directions.

Method 2
Blowing Bubbles with a Wand

  1. 1
    Gather bubble solution and a bubble wand. Try a wand with several openings, so that if one opening fails on a given try, the others can still produce bubbles.
  2. 2
    Show the child how to use the bubble wand. Dip the wand in solution and gently blow some bubbles. The child will most likely chase the bubbles, and you can show them how to catch them on the wand.
  3. 3
    Let the child take the bubble wand. Encourage them to blow their own bubbles and try to catch them (on their hands or on the wand).
  4. 4
    Take turns as needed. If blowing bubbles is difficult for the child, you using the wand gives them a break to refocus and keep from getting too frustrated.

Method 3
Blowing a Kazoo

  1. 1
    Obtain a kazoo and teach them how to use it. The kazoo should be held between the lips (not held using the teeth or with the tongue wrapped around it). Blow into it so that they know how it sounds.
  2. 2
    Let your child try the kazoo. Let them play around with it. Encourage them to go upstairs or outside if it starts bothering you (or, turn on some white noise).
  3. 3
    Try recorders and toy horns as well. These may work better for older children, or for your own peace of mind. Recorders may capture a child's interest for longer, because they can learn to play songs.


  • Exercises alone may not solve hypernasal speech. These are just suggestions that you could use to try and help.
  • If your child does have hypernasal speech, see a Speech Pathologist.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Raising Children with Special Needs | Speaking