Does Thumb Sucking Cause Speech Impairments?

The most common speech impairment found in children is phonological impairment. Phonological impairment refers to the incorrect pronunciation of words and has long been thought to be caused by (or worsened by) the use of pacifiers and the act of thumb sucking.

Researchers at the University of Sydney recently conducted a study involving 199 Australian preschool children with "sucking behavior" such as thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, and sucking bottles. You can also look for thumb sucking prevention devices online at

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The results showed that 58% of the children who participated have used a pacifier. Up to 75% of those who did not use a pacifier used one for 12 months or more. Dr. Elise Baker, the lead author of the study, said that the study failed to show a correlation between the "sucking" behavior and speech impairment.

"You listened to a toddler's speech and you give them the word seperti'ulat ', and they may say sebagai'tap-ua,'" Baker said. "So they are replacing some of the louder the sound easily -. They eliminate the noise "

What can we take away from this study?

Because of this study, we now know that "sucking behavior" is not a direct cause of impaired speech. This means we are one step closer to learning the cause of the disorder to improve children's speech development in the future.

However, it is still not a good idea to let your child sucking their thumb or uses a pacifier after the age of four. Stay tuned for Part Two where we will provide an in-depth look into why that is.