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Muteness or mutism (from Latin mutus, meaning "silent") is an inability to speak caused by a speech disorder.
Those who are physically mute may have problems with the parts of the human body required for human speech (the throat, vocal cords, lungs, mouth, or tongue, etc.). Being mute is often associated with deafness as people who have been unable to hear from birth may not be able to articulate words correctly (see deaf-mute), but muteness describes people who can hear but cannot talk. Other causes include intellectual disability and autism. A person can be born mute, or become mute later in life as a result of injury or disease. The prevalence of mutism from all causes is on the order of 0.8 persons per 1000.
Trauma or injury to the Broca's area of the brain can cause muteness.
Muteness may also be caused by a major traumatic incident in a person's life. However, this is usually temporary.
Selective mutism is a disorder related to social anxiety in which people are unable to speak in specific anxiety-producing situations but speak fluently in more comfortable situations.
Hearing mutism is an obsolete term used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for specific language impairment.
Akinetic mutism is inability to speak (mutism) and move (akinesia). It is the result of severe frontal lobe injury in which the pattern of inhibitory control is one of increasing passivity and gradually decreasing speech and motion.
Coping with mutism 
Some mute patients have adapted with their disability by using machines that vibrate their vocal cords, allowing them to speak. Others learn sign language in order to communicate. The computer age also facilitates communication, both with smart phones and the internet.
See also 
- ^ Page 6 in: Leonard, Laurence B. (1998). Children with specific language impairment. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-62136-3.