June is Aphasia Awareness month, and we at REM want to do our part to help spread awareness.
Aphasia is a communication disorder stemming from damage to the part of the brain containing language. Those afflicted usually have difficulty with speech. Though aphasia does not directly affect one’s hearing, hearing loss in combination with aphasia can add to the “language deficits” that make comprehending speech in noise difficult.
How should I approach those with Aphasia and Hearing Loss?
It may not be a wide ranging issue, but for the person who has both, it’s a big one. Being understanding is always important. Be patient, avoid extra noise where possible, and keep your speech as simple as possible.
Though not hearing loss specific, ASHA has an article about a family coping with aphasia that may be a good starting point with those who are going through something similar.
How can an audiologist help with Hearing Loss and Aphasia?
Patients diagnosed with aphasia need to have a comprehensive diagnostic audiometric assessment performed by an audiologist. The audiologist’s test battery consists of objective measures of auditory function. When these objective measures are analyzed in conjunction with behavior testing, the audiologist can begin to help with the patient’s comprehension problems.
The best results would come from working closely with both an audiologist and a speech language pathologist.
What can you do for Aphasia Awareness Month?
The National Aphasia Asociation (Aphasia.org) is a great resource full of articles and helpful tips.
First step — to help spread the word about apahsia, it’s important to understand what aphasia is beyond its clinical definition.
Aphasia.org reports that the 2 million people in the US who have aphasia have “lost all or some ability to use words.” They often have trouble speaking and understanding the speech of others. Despite these difficulties, aphasia does not “affect a person’s intellect.”
Second step — tell as many people as you can. Close to 90 percent of people don’t know what Aphasia is. And the more people who know, the more they can help in turn.
Third step — if you have a few extra bucks, you can always donate to the National Aphasia Association (NAA).
June and Aphasia Awareness month are almost over, but even beyond, there’s still lots you can do and people you can tell.