If you’ve recently been in an accident that involved a head injury and are noticing you’re having trouble with things that used to be easy, you might have a traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, occur when you’ve had a sudden injury and can affect all areas of your life.
You might notice that you’re having trouble paying attention, or that your memory has gotten worse.
A traumatic brain injury can also affect your speech, sometimes in unpredictable ways.
If this sounds familiar, you don’t have to navigate it alone.
An adult speech therapist Austin Tx can help.
Speech therapists can help you retrain your muscles and memory to help you improve your functioning.
Let’s explore more about traumatic brain injuries and how speech and language therapists can help you navigate life with your TBI.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is just what it sounds like – an injury to your brain from some sort of trauma.
A traumatic brain injury may refer to a wide variety of injuries that occur to the scalp, skull, or brain.
The damage to your brain happens immediately, though you may have issues with swelling and other complications later.
Usually, a TBI results from an injury serious enough to cause bruising or bleeding of the brain’s tissue.
While immediate symptoms can be treated medically, there can be long lasting effects from TBIs that may result in changes to how you function.
Here are some of the injuries that could cause a traumatic brain injury:
Concussions are minor brain injuries that are usually the result of an accident that involves sudden impact to the head or a quick change in motion.
Whiplash is a common way one could suffer from a concussion.
It’s common for concussions not to be able to be spotted in imaging tests, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated seriously.
Concussions, especially recurring concussions, can cause memory loss, disorientation, and problems with concentration.
A bruise of your brain tissue is called a brain contusion, which is when small blood vessels break and leak.
Any impact to the head, often caused by an abrupt accident, can cause a brain contusion.
Contusions can be minor or serious, but if yours was severe you may experience symptoms like confusion, agitation, or tiredness.
Penetrating Brain Injuries
When an object pierces through your skull this is called a penetrating brain injury.
The object or pieces of your skull, hair, and skin may come into contact with your brain.
The force or object that causes a penetrating brain injury must be strong, like a motor vehicle accident or a fall that causes your skull to crack.
Anoxic Brain Injuries
This type of brain injury happens when your brain isn’t able to receive enough oxygen to function.
It takes less than five minutes of improper oxygen for your brain to start to die, which results in damage and ultimately a traumatic brain injury.
Oxygen is usually carried to the brain by your blood, which means that anoxic brain injuries usually occur due to something blocking your brain’s blood flow.
How Do I Know If I Have Traumatic Brain Injury?
While traumatic brain injuries are usually the result of an unexpected accident, the symptoms that you have one may not show up immediately.
Symptoms can vary a lot depending on where in your brain the injury has occurred.
You’ll want to monitor for the following symptoms to see if you have a TBI.
Physical and sensory symptoms:
- Balance issues
- Sensitivity to lights
- Hearing loss
- Ears ringing
- Double vision
- Vision changes
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
Behavioral and thinking symptoms:
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
- Attention issues
- Trouble learning new information
- Difficulty problem solving
Speech, language, and communication symptoms:
- Dysarthria (trouble being understood because of weak speech muscles)
- Apraxia of speech (difficulty controlling muscles used for speech)
- Difficulty understanding others
- Comprehension problems when reading
- Difficulty remembering the words you need
- Difficulty with social cues
- Difficulty understanding nonverbal cues
What Causes A Traumatic Brain Injury?
As previously mentioned, TBIs are usually caused by an unexpected injury.
Here are some examples of accidents that may cause these injuries:
- Slips and falls
- Car accidents
- An object hitting you
- Running into an object
- Forceful sports injuries
- Near drowning
- Exposure to poisonous gases
- Cardiac arrest or stroke
Although we talked about adult speech therapy in the beginning of this article, children can experience traumatic brain injury as well.
In fact, children are statistically most likely to experience a traumatic brain injury than any other group.
As a result, speech and language therapy for kids also works with TBIs.
This article mostly focuses on the condition in adults, though.
How Does Traumatic Brain Injury Affect Speech And Language?
A traumatic brain injury can affect the muscles of your face and mouth, making speech and language more difficult.
Since your memory, which plays a key role in your language, may be affected by your TBI this can add to speech issues.
You may have trouble understanding what you hear and read, making communication harder.
Here are some of the ways your TBI may affect your speech and language skills:
1. Social Skills Difficulties
You may have noticed that body language is now harder to read, and you’re not sure what certain facial expressions mean.
This can lead to difficulty as you navigate social situations.
A speech therapist can help you relearn skills like eye contact and gestures, sometimes in small groups, to build back these vital skills.
2. Attention Difficulties
If you’re noticing you’re having trouble paying attention, this can affect all areas of how you function day to day.
Your speech therapist will work with you on your attention, gently guiding it as you work on activities together.
While it may feel frustrating, building back these skills gradually will help you in the long run.
Dysarthria is a condition that can cause impaired speech, resulting in slurring of words or sounds that can be too muffled or mumbled for others to understand.
A speech therapist will be able to focus on your speech intelligibility.
Exercises that focus on your lip movement and muscle strength in your mouth and jaw will help guide you toward being more understood.
4. Memory Difficulties
Memory is pivotal when it comes to communication and speaking, which means that working on improving your memory can reopen a lot of communication for you.
Your speech therapy may introduce tools like memory logs to assist you.
With practice you’ll build back your memory competency which will help you with your speech.
5. Apraxia Of Speech
Apraxia is what happens when you know what you want to say, but because of difficulty with the sounds of syllables the words don’t come out right.
Your speech therapist will focus on helping you slow down and pinpoint focus on pronunciation.
Depending on the situation, you may benefit from using AAC – augmentative and alternative communication.
These are ways other than speaking to communicate, which may include sign language or various electronic aids.
Book Your Appointment With Sol Speech And Language Therapy Today
If you’re thinking you or a loved one could benefit from speech therapy for your TBI, don’t hesitate.
We’re here to help.
Don’t wait, book your appointment with Sol Speech and Language Therapy today to get started.
6448 E Hwy 290 Suite E-106,
Austin, TX 78723
Sol Speech & Language Therapy
555 Round Rock W Dr E-221,
Round Rock, TX 78681
Sol Speech & Language Therapy offers personalized skilled intervention to those struggling with their speech and language skills. Services offered include screening, consultation, and comprehensive evaluation. We also provide one-on-one and/or group therapy for speech sound disorders, receptive/expressive language delay/disorder, stuttering/cluttering, accent reduction, and much more.