How Is Communication Affected Following a Brain Injury?

Most of us communicate with many different people throughout the day, never even giving it a second thought. This is because the ability to speak is often taken for granted; however, communicating involves different parts of our brain and is actually rather complex. So it’s no wonder that a brain injury can cause communication problems.

During communication, the brain engages in a complicated process to decode what others are saying, determine an appropriate response, and select the words to express the response. Unfortunately, many of the functions that help people communicate properly are damaged during a brain injury.

The severity of the brain injury and the part of the brain affected will determine the extent of the communication challenges a brain injury survivor will experience. For example, here are some ways communication can be negatively affected following a brain injury:

  • woman with tape on her mouth holding her headSpelling, writing and reading. If a certain area of the parietal lobe in the brain is injured, the victim will have difficulty decoding written text or producing words on paper.
  • Understanding language. If an area in the temporal lobe called the Wernicke’s area of the brain, is injured, one’s ability to understand speech is impaired.
  • Expressing language. If the left frontal lobe (the Broca’s area of the brain) is damaged, the sufferer may have a hard time expressing words verbally. He or she may speak slowly and articulate words poorly.  Although it may take a lot of effort, a survivor can speak in short, meaningful phrases. On the other hand, if the Wernicke’s area of the brain is injured, a person may be able to speak in long sentences but without meaning — even making up words.
  • Thinking and organizing thoughts. If the frontal lobe of the brain is injured, a victim may be unable to put his thoughts in order to communicate effectively.

If damage occurs to both the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas of the brain, a person will likely suffer from global aphasia. This means that a brain injury survivor will be unable to carry out any aspects of the normal speech and language process such as reading, writing, talking, understanding, and expressing oneself. At most, a brain injury survivor with this kind of damage may be able to utter a few words and understand some.

When a brain injury leaves a person without the ability to communicate, the survivor should be compensated adequately for such a tremendous loss. An attorney experienced in brain injuries should be consulted to ensure maximum compensation. If you would like a free consultation about you or your loved one’s case, please call us at (703) 591-0067 or fill out a short form on our Contact Us page and we will reach out to you soon.