Mikee Larrazabal 8 min read

Dysarthria vs Aphasia – what is the difference?

Dysarthria and aphasia are both disorders that affect a person’s ability to communicate. Both can make it difficult to speak or understand language. However, there are some key differences between the two conditions. To learn more about the difference, read more!

What is Dysarthria?

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. This means that it affects the muscles used for speaking such as the lips, tongue, and voice box. Dysarthria can make it hard to produce clear speech. It can also affect the loudness, pitch, and rhythm of speech.

treatments for dysarthria

A person with dysarthria may have difficulty producing speech sounds, may speak slowly or with an abnormal rhythm, or may slur their words. Dysarthria depends on the cause and severity of the condition.

Types of dysarthria

There are seven types of dysarthria. They all differ in the way they affect speech production.

Flaccid dysarthria

This is one of the types of dysarthria is due to weakness in the muscles used for speaking. It can make speech sound very soft, slow, and slurred. Audible aspiration (when air escapes from the mouth while speaking) may also be present.

Flaccid dysarthria is often due to a damage to the nervous system, specifically in the lower motor neurons. This type of damage can be result to stroke, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or muscular dystrophy.

Spastic dysarthria

This type of dysarthria is due to spasticity, which is when the muscles are tight and stiff. It can make speech sound very harsh, strained, and high-pitched.

Spastic dysarthria is often due to a damage to the nervous system, specifically in the upper motor neurons. This type of damage can be result of stroke, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis.

Ataxic dysarthria

This type of dysarthria is due to problems with muscle coordination. It can make speech sound very uncoordinated, shaky, and slow.

Ataxic dysarthria is often due to damages to the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls coordination. This type of damage can be a result of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or head injury.

Hypokinetic dysarthria

This type of dysarthria is due to a lack of muscle movement. It can make speech sound very slow and monotonous.

Hypokinetic dysarthria is often a result of a damage to the basal ganglia, which is the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. This type of damage can be due to a medical condition such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease.

Hyperkinetic dysarthria

This type of dysarthria is due to too much muscle movement. It can make speech sound very rapid and irregular.

Hyperkinetic dysarthria is often a result of a damage to the cerebrum, which is the largest part of the brain. This type of damage can be due to stroke or dementia.

Mixed dysarthria

This type of dysarthria is a combination of two or more of the other types of dysarthria. It can make speech sound very unclear and hard to understand.

Mixed dysarthria is often due to damages to more than one area of the brain. This type of damage can be a result of stroke, head injury, or cerebral palsy.

What causes dysarthria?

dysarthria vs aphasia

Dysarthria can be due to a variety of conditions that damage the nervous system. This includes stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, head injury, and muscular dystrophy.

Diagnosis of dysarthria

Dysarthria is diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will first do a medical history and ask about any symptoms you may be having. They will then observe your speech patterns and how you move your mouth when you speak. They may also ask you to do some tests, such as reading out loud or saying certain words or sounds.

After the diagnosis is done, the SLP will develop a treatment plan. This plan will be based on the type of dysarthria you have and how severe it is.

Treatments for dysarthria

There is no cure for dysarthria. However, there are treatments for dysarthria that can help improve speech production. The type of treatment will depend on the type of dysarthria you have.

Treatments for dysarthria may include:

  • Speech therapy to help with muscle movement and coordination
  • Exercises to help strengthen the muscles used for speaking
  • Devices to help with communication, such as an alphabet board or computer software

Dysarthria can be a frustrating condition, but with correct treatments for dysarthria, many people are able to improve their speech production.

Better Speech consultation for APD

What is Aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder. This means that it affects a person’s ability to understand or use language. A person with aphasia may have difficulty speaking, understanding, reading, or writing.

Aphasia is due to damage to the language centers of the brain. This damage can be a result of stroke, head injury, or dementia. Aphasia does not affect intelligence.

There are four main types of aphasia

Expressive aphasia

This type of aphasia is also called Broca’s aphasia. Broca’s aphasia is due to a lesion in the frontal lobe of the brain, specifically in Broca’s area. Broca’s area is responsible for language production.

People with expressive aphasia have difficulty producing speech. They may speak in short phrases and have trouble finding the right words. They may present with a very nonfluent or halting speech pattern. For example, they may say, “The uh…the uh…the dog chased the cat.”

Receptive aphasia

This type of aphasia is also called Wernicke’s aphasia. Wernicke’s aphasia is due to a lesion in the temporal lobe of the brain, specifically in Wernicke’s area. Wernicke’s area is responsible for language understanding.

People with receptive aphasia have difficulty understanding speech. They may be able to speak in long, run-on sentences that don’t make sense. For example, they may say, “The cow jumped over the moon, and then she went to the store.”

Global aphasia

People with global aphasia have difficulty with both expressive and receptive aphasia. This is the most severe type of aphasia. Global aphasia is due to damage to large areas of the language centers of the brain.

types of dysarthria

People with global aphasia have difficulty speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. They may be able to say a few words, but their speech will be very difficult to understand.

Anomic aphasia

Anomic aphasia is also called dysnomia or amnesic aphasia. It is due to damages to the temporal lobe or frontal lobe of the brain.

People with anomic aphasia have difficulty finding words. They may be able to speak in sentences, but they will often pause and have trouble retrieving the right word. For example, they may say, “I went to the store to buy some… um… apples.”

Aphasia can range from mild to severe. Some people with aphasia only have difficulty with a few words, while others are completely unable to speak or understand language.

What causes aphasia?

Aphasia is due to damage to the language centers of the brain. This damage can be a result of stroke, head injury, or dementia.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off. A head injury occurs when the head is hit by an object. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability.

How is aphasia diagnosed?

Aphasia is diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. They will also give you a neurological exam and a cognitive test.

After the diagnosis is made, the SLP will develop a treatment plan. This plan will be based on the type and severity of your aphasia.

How is aphasia treated?

There is no cure for aphasia, but there are treatments that can help. The goal of treatment is to help you communicate as effectively as possible.

A speech-language pathologist can help you with this. Treatment varies depending on the type and severity of your aphasia. It may include:

Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT)

MIT is a type of technique that uses melody and rhythm to help people with aphasia speak more clearly. This is done by speaking while singing or tapping out a beat. It helps people with aphasia because it engages the right side of the brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for melody and rhythm.

Constraint-Induced Language Therapy (CILT)

CILT is a type of speech therapy. It helps people with aphasia use the language skills they still have. This is done by constraining the use of their non-affected hand and arm. For example, if the person has aphasia and can only say one-syllable words, the therapist will have them repeat words with more syllables.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

AAC is a way to communicate without speaking. It includes devices such as picture boards and voice output devices. AAC can help people with aphasia communicate their needs, wants, and thoughts. This is most useful for people with Global Aphasia or Severe Aphasia.

Dysarthria vs Aphasia

Dysarthria and aphasia are both types of communication disorders. They can both make it hard to speak. The difference between dysarthria and aphasia includes:

  • Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. Aphasia is a language disorder.
  • Dysarthria is due to damage to the muscles or nerves that control speech. Aphasia is due to damage to the parts of the brain that control language.
  • Dysarthria can make it hard to speak clearly. Aphasia can make it hard to understand or produce language.

It is important to note that some people have both dysarthria and aphasia. This is called mixed receptive-expressive language disorder.

There are comorbid conditions associated with dysarthria and aphasia.

aphasia and dysarthria

There are a few comorbid conditions that can happen along with aphasia and dysarthria. These include apraxia of speech. Apraxia and dysarthria often happen together because they both involve problems with muscle control. This is when someone has both apraxia and dysarthria. This is because when the muscles are weak, it can be hard to produce speech. This can also lead to trouble understanding what other people are saying.

Treatment for comorbid conditions, such as apraxia and dysarthria, is often done by a team of healthcare professionals. This team may include a:

  • Physician
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Speech-language pathologist (SLP)

Speech therapy can help!

If you or a loved one has aphasia, apraxia, and dysarthria, know that there is help available. Speech therapy can make a big difference in the lives of people with aphasia. It can help them communicate more effectively and lead more independent lives. Contact us now for a free consult!