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June is National Aphasia Month

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.

APHASIA AND HEARING LOSS

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.