Similar to May’s Better Hearing and Speech month, National Aphasia month is an important time to help raise the public’s awareness of an issue they might know little about. The National Aphasia Association says that despite the “2 million people in the United States [who] have aphasia, 84.5% of Americans” have never heard of the term.
What is Aphasia
Aphasia is a language disorder that is caused by brain damage, often after a stroke. It’s a disorder that can affect comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills. After diagnosis, a speech-language pathologist often helps with treatment.
According to the NIDCD, aphasia often occurs suddenly and there are 2 broad types: fluent and non-fluent. Fluent aphasia stems from the temporal lobe and people with this type may speak in “long, complete sentences that have no meaning.” Non-fluent aphasia from the frontal lobe has more physical manifestations. Those afflicted may experience limb weakness or loss of motor skill function. People with Broca aphasia (a type of non-fluent aphasia) also “may understand speech and know what they want to say, but they frequently speak in short phrases that are produced with great effort. They often omit small words, such as ‘is’, ‘and’ and ‘the.’”
Aphasia and Hearing
Last year we wrote a little about the connection between aphasia and hearing loss:
“Aphasia is a communication disorder stemming from damage to the part of the brain containing language. 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.”
If you have hearing loss and aphasia, speak to your audiologist. They’ll often work with your speech therapist to give you the best possible course of treatment.
For more you can do to help, please refer to the National Aphasia Association’s website, where they’re currently running a 2018 Aphasia Awareness Challenge campaign.