What is Broca’s Aphasia?

When someone has a stroke on the left side of their brain, they may have difficulty producing speech. This condition is known as Broca’s aphasia. Many people encounter those with Broca’s aphasia but do not understand what it is. In this blog post, we answer the question of “what is Broca’s aphasia?”.

What is Broca’s aphasia?

Broca’s aphasia is a type of aphasia that causes difficulty when speaking. People with Broca’s aphasia may use utterances such as “um” or have long pauses while speaking. If a person with Broca’s aphasia has trouble with word retrieval, they may substitute words that are close sounding or related to the word that they want to say. People with Broca’s aphasia may also drop linking words, causing them to use grammatically abnormal speech.

Is Broca’s aphasia a loss of intellect?

Not at all. Those living with Broca’s aphasia may be treated as unintelligible when that is not the case. Broca’s aphasia is the loss of language, not intellect.

What causes Broca’s aphasia?

Broca’s aphasia may be caused by a stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, or from an infection. When a stroke causes Broca’s aphasia, a blockage or hemorrhage typically occurs in the middle cerebellar artery or internal carotid artery. People with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may have symptoms of Broca’s aphasia, but these patients have aphasia that has a more progressive onset rather than an immediate onset, such as when someone has a stroke.

How is Broca’s aphasia diagnosed?

Broca’s aphasia is detected by using speech assessments that measure fluency, naming, word repetition, reading, writing, and the ability to follow directions. People with Broca’s aphasia will often see a neuropsychologist perform cognitive assessments that measure memory, executive functioning, attention, and processing speed. Lastly, a neurologist will usually order a brain scan to identify the cause of Broca’s aphasia. 

What is the treatment for Broca’s aphasia?

People with Broca’s aphasia often work with a neurologist, neuropsychologist, and speech therapist. The neurologist will work with the individual to manage their stroke, brain injury, or other neurological condition. The neuropsychologist will evaluate the individual on their cognitive functioning. The speech therapist will structure a rehabilitation plan to help the individual regain their language skills. The speech therapist will often provide care. The client will work closely with them on naming, word retrieval, word recognition, vocal tone, and communication strategies. Therapy may be provided using digital cognitive therapy tools or worksheets for aphasia patients.

How can I help someone with Broca’s aphasia? 

People often feel awkward when interacting with someone who has Broca’s aphasia. It is essential to treat anyone with respect, regardless of whether they have aphasia or not. Helpful communication strategies to use when communicating with someone who has aphasia are using an even tone of voice, speaking clearly, asking yes or no questions, and actively listening. It is also essential to not cut someone off while they speak and let someone finish what they are saying. People may think it is helpful to help someone with Broca’s aphasia say what they want to say, but it may cause someone to feel that they are not being treated with respect. When interacting with someone with Broca’s aphasia, you may want to ask if they have preferred methods of communication or if there is something you can do to help make communication and dialogue more pleasant for them.

Source:

Acharya, A. B., & Wroten, M. (2021). Broca aphasia. StatPearls [Internet].

Dustin Luchmee

Dustin is HappyNeuron Pro's Product Specialist. With research experience in stroke, Dustin learned how a stroke can change someone's life. He also learned how different kinds of therapists can work together to help a person get better. He is passionate about neuro-rehabilitation and finding the active ingredients for effective therapy.

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