Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can lead to all kinds of problems, including difficulty communicating. Communication issues can involve different parts of the brain, because communication has physical, cognitive and emotional processes.
Communication difficulties can also affect an injured person’s behavior. When you can’t make yourself understood or easily understand the world around you, it’s easy to react with agitation or even hostility.
Here are some of the most common communication problems associated with TBIs:
- Aphasia is a condition which can include difficulty both comprehension and expression of language. It can also extend to problems with reading and writing. Sufferers may have a hard time finding the right word, even though they know what they want to say. Alternatively, they may hear or read a common word but forget its meaning.
- Dysfunctional speech can make a person hard to understand. Halting speech, stuttering and garbled speech patterns are all possible.
- Cognitive impairments can affect speech by making it hard for a TBI victim to pay attention while someone is talking, to follow sequential directions and even to communicate in socially-acceptable language. It can also result in confusion, trouble retaining new information and problems understanding common social cues.
Depending on where his or her brain was injured, the victim of a TBI may suffer from more than one of these impairments at once. For example, temporal lobe injuries can damage memory and affect the way that a person expresses his or her emotions.
An injury to the frontal lobe can affect someone’s ability to think in a flexible manner, plan something, solve problems and pay attention. The two injuries combined can amount to significant disruption of a victim’s ability to communicate in general.
Treating communication disorders isn’t easy. It can take a combination of physical therapy, psychotherapy and speech therapy, often for years at a time, for patients to show significant improvement. Even then, victims of TBIs seldom regain all of the language skills they’ve lost.
The extensive therapy required by brain injury victims is one of the reasons it is so important to seek all the compensation possible whenever that injury is caused by someone else’s negligence. That compensation is usually needed to give the injured person his or her best shot at recovering a normal life.
Source: www.brainline.org, “Traumatic Brain Injury: Cognitive and Communication Disorders,” accessed April 20, 2018