What causes my turn signals and emergency flashers to work intermittently? on 1998 Mazda Protege

Sometimes when I flip the turn signal switch it comes on, flashes a few times and then stops. Every now and then (but not as much as the turn signals) the cruise control does the same thing. The turn signal problem has gotten progressively worse over the last weeks and now most of the time they don't work at all. Help! I'm not a mechanic, but I can follow explicit directions.

Asked by for the 1998 Mazda Protege