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A lisp is a speech articulation disorder characterized by the inability to produce certain sounds correctly, most commonly the “s” and “z” sounds. This results in a distortion of the sounds, making them sound lispy. Lisps can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Orofacial myofunctional disorders: These are problems with the mouth and face muscles that can affect speech production.
  • Dental abnormalities: Gaps between teeth or misaligned teeth can interfere with producing certain sounds.
  • Hearing impairment: If someone has difficulty hearing the difference between sounds, they may be unable to produce them correctly.
  • Habits: In some cases, lisps can be developed from habits, such as sucking on thumbs or pacifiers.

Types of lisps:

There are several types of lisps, each with its cause and characteristics. The most common types include:

  • Sigmatismus: This is the most common type of lisp, characterized by difficulty producing the “s” and “z” sounds. There are three main types of sigmatismus:

    • Interdental lisp: The tongue protrudes between the teeth when producing “s” and “z” sounds.
    • Lingual lisp: The tongue tip touches the back of the upper front teeth when producing “s” and “z” sounds.
    • Lateral lisp: The air escapes over the sides of the tongue instead of over the tip when producing “s” and “z” sounds.
  • Rhotacism: Difficulty producing the “r” sound.

  • Lateral lisp: Difficulty producing the “l” sound.

Impact of lisps:

Lisps can significantly impact a person’s life. They can make it difficult to be understood, which can lead to social isolation and anxiety. Lisps can also affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence.


A speech-language pathologist can treat lisps. Treatment typically involves exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth and face and to learn how to produce sounds correctly. In some cases, braces or other dental devices may be needed to correct dental abnormalities contributing to the lisp.

Additional Information:

  • Lisps are more common in children than in adults.
  • Most children outgrow their lisps by the time they are around seven years old.
  • If you are concerned about a lisp, seeing a speech-language pathologist for evaluation and treatment is important.

Fear of public speaking:

People with lisps may be more likely to experience fear of public speaking due to concerns about being judged or misunderstood. If you have a lisp and are struggling with public speaking anxiety, there are resources available to help you manage your fears and communicate effectively. You can work with a speech-language pathologist or a therapist to develop coping mechanisms and practice speaking in public settings.

Speaking coach:

A speaking coach can also be a valuable resource for people with lisps who want to improve their public speaking skills. A speaking coach can help you with things like:

  • Identifying and addressing any physical obstacles that may be contributing to your lisp
  • Developing strategies for managing your fear of public speaking
  • Practicing your speaking skills in a supportive environment


If you have a lisp, you are not alone. Many people have lisps, and effective treatments are available. With the help of a speech-language pathologist or other professional, you can learn to manage your lisp and communicate effectively.

I hope this glossary article is helpful.

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