Originally, the common word dumb or dumbness used to mean "unable to speak". Unfortunately this was taken over to mean "unwilling to speak" or "unintelligent". So people prefer "muteness". "Dumb" is a much commoner word, and might be used if it would not be misunderstood.
Adults who previously had speech and then became unable to speak: this may be due to disease, injury, damage or surgery affecting areas of the brain needed for speech. Loss of speech in adults may occur, but rarely, for psychological reasons. Damage (however caused) to the parts of the brain needed for speech is called aphasia.
Treatment or management of muteness depends on what has caused the absence of speech. A speech assessment may decide cause and treatment. Treatment of absence of speech is possible in a variety of cases. If the absence of speech is a permanent condition, a range of communication devices are available to help communication.
Speech-generating devices help people with speech deficiencies.
- Grippo, J.; Vergel, M. F.; Comar, H.; Grippo, T. (2001). "Mutism in children". Revista de Neurología. 32 (3): 244–246. doi:10.33588/rn.3203.2000376. ISSN 0210-0010. PMID 11310279.
- "ALS Augmentative Communication Program | Speech-Generating Devices | Boston Children's Hospital". www.childrenshospital.org. Archived from the original on 2020-05-05. Retrieved 2020-04-20.