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About Cleft

Effects of cleft

Common consequences of cleft include feeding problems. Many children become undernourished as a result, and in severe cases of cleft can even die because they cannot intake enough mother’s milk. Due to their appearance and superstitions in the society, many cleft children suffer from social isolation and feel hesitation going to school.

An open palate implies that mouth, nose and ears are inter-connected. This has strong medical implications for the child. Speech impairment and ear infections are common consequences. The muscles in the soft part of the palate are connected to the middle ear via a tube (Eustachian tube) and help the middle ear to function properly. For children affected by cleft palate this normal functioning is disturbed, resulting in decreased hearing and fluid discharge through the ear. The symptoms of decreased sense of hearing can affect learning and the general well being. That is why the closure of the palate is the most important cleft surgery.

The speech and hearing problems resulting from the cleft(s) further hamper the children's social development.

The good news is that cleft can be treated very well!