Do you have aphasia after a traumatic brain injury?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2023 | Brain Injury |

Aphasia, a type of language impairment, is one of many types of cognitive problems to watch for after a traumatic brain injury. An estimated 2-32% of people who have a TBI experience aphasia as a result.

Signs of aphasia include:

  • Speaking in short sentences
  • Saying things that don’t make sense
  • Making incomplete sentences
  • Difficulty with understanding conversations
  • Difficulty understanding what you’re reading

Types of aphasia

The four main types of aphasia are Broca, Wernicke, anomic and global. Broca aphasia usually causes difficulty with expressing yourself, but you’re able to understand others. Brain injuries on the left hemisphere’s frontal lobe may cause this type of language impairment.

Damage to the temporal lobe could cause Wernicke aphasia. It’s the reverse of Broca aphasia. You can communicate, but you have trouble understanding others. However, you may still make communication errors, such as sentences that don’t make sense. Your grammar and rhythm are correct, yet you’re forming sentences the other person doesn’t understand.

Anomic aphasia usually involves word retrieval struggles. Most people particularly struggle with finding the right nouns and verbs. Brain injuries often affect multiple areas of the brain in those who have this language impairment.

Global aphasia is when a person has Broca and Wernicke aphasia. Thus, they have problems expressing themselves and processing what other people are saying. Some people with global aphasia after a brain injury improve significantly as they heal.

Treatment of aphasia

You may receive speech therapy as part of your treatment plan. Other possible components of aphasia treatment include neurological interventions, neuropsychology and counseling. The two main approaches that speech therapists take are remedial therapy and compensatory therapy. Under a remedial approach, you may practice matching pictures with words or reading out loud. The goal is to focus on restoring a lost function. Compensatory strategies, in contrast, aim to compensate for a lost function.

With therapy, many people can make significant improvements with their aphasia. The sooner you start treatment after the injury, the more improvement you might make.