Text to speech for concussions

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Accessibility on July 14, 2022
If you have experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury, text-to-speech (TTS) platforms and other speech solutions can help you during recovery.

    Text-to-speech for concussions

    If you are involved in an accident, you might be diagnosed with a specific head injury known as a TBI. TBI stands for traumatic brain injury, and there are multiple types of traumatic brain injuries. You might be diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), such as a concussion, or you might be diagnosed with a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury, such as a cerebral hemorrhage.

    It can be challenging to diagnose brain damage. You could suffer a TBI in a motor vehicle accident while playing high school or college contact sports, or even from a simple slip-and-fall injury. If you play contact sports, a sideline athletic trainer may run a variety of concussion tests looking for specific deficits. Importantly, not all effects of concussions are immediately noticeable, and you may experience post-concussion syndrome following head trauma. 

    Regardless of whether you suffer a loss of consciousness or not, it is important for you to see a health care provider as quickly as possible if you have experienced a head injury. Specifically, you might need a pediatric or adult neurology specialist to look for deviations from normal brain function.

    If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, such as a sports-related concussion from football or skateboarding, how might it affect your speech abilities?

    What a traumatic brain injury does to speech

    When compared to your baseline, a traumatic brain injury can lead to significant speech issues. Some of the problems you may notice regarding speech include:

    • Aphasia: One of the most common speech traumatic brain issues you might notice is called aphasia. This means that your brain has a difficult time understanding and producing speech. For example, if you go to say the word “table,” your brain may pull out something that sounds similar, such as “cable.” Or, your brain might pull out something that means something similar, such as “chair.”
    • Slurred Speech: In addition to aphasia, you may develop slurred speech. This could make you sound like you are intoxicated, but in reality, you are actually suffering from a traumatic brain injury. 
    • Mechanical Issues: If you have suffered a jaw injury along with a traumatic brain injury, you may have a difficult time making your mouth form the shapes that are necessary to produce words. This might make it difficult for you to speak at all.
    • Nerve Damage: If you have suffered nerve damage, you may develop a condition called dysarthria. Dysarthria means that your brain may have difficulty controlling the muscles around the mouth, and this impairment can make it difficult for you to talk.
    • Hearing Loss: If you have suffered temporary or permanent hearing loss as a result of a brain injury, you might have a difficult time speaking clearly. Individuals who have a hard time hearing have a difficult time speaking clearly because they cannot hear what they are saying.

    Ultimately, a traumatic brain injury can lead to issues with both producing words and understanding them. Remember that there are multiple types of traumatic brain injuries, so this issue can present differently in different people. If you are curious about other symptoms of a concussion, you might want to learn more about epidemiology from a subscription to an EDU or GOV website. 

    Speech solutions for head injuries

    There are multiple speech solutions available for individuals who have suffered a head injury, including a concussion. Examples include: 


    Because individuals with a head injury may have a difficult time reading, it can be helpful to listen to audiobooks. An audiobook is often beneficial for someone who is recovering from a concussion because it does not place as much stress on the brain. Audiobooks come in many shapes and forms. There are many audiobook novels available, while other audiobooks can even include nonfiction works like academic journals. 


    It is also important to take a closer look at possible text-to-speech (TTS) solutions, such as Speechify. This is a great way for someone to handle articles, websites, emails and even social media posts. Speechify and other text-to-speech apps can be used on smartphones, making it easier for people to listen to different types of content while on the go. If you are looking for a way to multitask while recovering, TTS programs are a great place to look. 

    Speech language pathologists

    If a sports medicine professional or other healthcare professional identifies significant speech impairment issues, they may refer you to speech-language pathology. A speech language pathologist (SLP) is an individual who specializes in helping people address a wide variety of speech concerns. This type of medical professional works with people who have both congenital and acute speech-language problems. He or she can identify the reason why you are having a difficult time talking and develop a comprehensive plan to help you recover. 

    Key takeaways from the tie between speech recognition and concussions
    Ultimately, there is a close relationship between speech recognition issues and concussions. Some key points of this relationship to keep in mind include:

    The exact speech issues you suffer will depend on the location of your brain that has been damaged. If the speech center of your brain has not been damaged, you may not develop any issues at all.

    Remember that some forms of damage are temporary and some are permanent. You need to work with a doctor as quickly as possible to improve your prognosis.

    There are multiple moving parts that have to work together for speech recognition purposes. An injury to any one of those parts can make it hard for you to understand certain types of speech.

    Remember also that there are multiple solutions available if you have suffered speech deficit following a concussion. Speech solutions mentioned previously like audiobooks or a text-to-speech program like Speechify can help you in your recovery.


    Some of the most common questions people ask about concussions and speech include:

    What is the best way to describe a concussion?

    A concussion refers to a temporary or permanent manner in which the brain processes information. It is a type of traumatic brain injury, and a concussion often does not show any noticeable changes on a brain scan despite leading to symptoms. A concussion can result from a blow to the head while playing sports, during a physical assault, or in a motor vehicle accident. 

    How does a concussion affect speech?

    A concussion can impact speech in a number of ways. For example, you may suffer damage to the center of the brain that controls speech, which can lead to different types of aphasia. Or, you may suffer nerve damage that makes it hard for you to control the muscles around your mouth, which can lead to dysarthria. It is important to reach out as quickly as possible to a medical professional who can help you recover.

    Can a concussion make you slur your words?

    Yes, a concussion can make you slur your words. This is typically called dysarthria, and it happens when the portion of the brain that controls the muscles around the mouth has been damaged. This can leave the muscles weakened or paralyzed, making it hard to speak. Dysarthria takes place when people know what they want to say but have a difficult time saying it. Some forms of dysarthria are temporary, while other forms of dysarthria might be permanent.

    What part of the brain controls speech?

    The frontal lobe is responsible for controlling speech. The frontal lobe contains a specific area called Broca’s area, which is associated with the ability to speak. If Broca’s area has been damaged in a concussion, you could be diagnosed with a specific type of aphasia called Broca’s aphasia. Furthermore, if you develop a second concussion shortly after the first one, you could be diagnosed with second-impact syndrome. This is a very serious situation, and it could lead to permanent complications. Always take time to recover following a concussion. 

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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