Tonsils--what every SLP should know

Tonsils are often overlooked, often undiagnosed, often troublesome part of the human body.  A visual look at a patient’s tonsils should be included in all oral mechanism evaluations done by speech therapists because enlarged tonsils can cause a variety of speech-related issues such as unintelligible speech, uncontrollable drooling, restless sleeping, or untimely eating. Tonsils are located above the “throat” where the trachea leads to your lungs and your esophagus to your stomach.  The tonsils hang out way in the back of the mouth, one positioned on each side of the uvula, which hangs in the “middle” and back part of your mouth. Tonsils are supposed to be minimally visible when a mouth is opened widely and the tongue is down (think--say “ahhhh”), but they do swell with infection and contact to germs because it’s their job to stop the germs from getting further into the body.  

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