We experience the world through our senses, through communication. Communication is everything. If you or someone you love is having issues with communication health, we want you to know that there’s help out there.

Speech-language pathologists can help with language, speech and swallowing, and audiologists can help with hearing, balance and auditory disorders such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). But the first step is up to you; for your child, parent, friend or yourself: being aware of the signs and knowing what to do are your most powerful tools. Learn more about what S-LPs and audiologists do. 

Find an S-LP or Audiologist Near You.


Types of Adult Communication Disorders

Speech and Language 

All can be associated with stroke, brain tumour or traumatic brain injury. Dysarthria also occurs in cerebral palsy and other degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). 

  • Aphasia (pronounced A-FAY-SHA) 
    A language disorder due to brain damage or disease resulting in difficulty in formulating, expressing, and /or understanding language.
  • Apraxia (pronounced A-PRAX-SIA) 
    A speech programming disorder which makes words and sentences sound jumbled or meaningless. 
  • Dysarthria (pronounced DIS-AR-THREE-AH) 
    A group of speech disorders resulting from paralysis, weakness, or lack of coordination of the muscles required for speech. 
  • Dysphagia (pronounced DIS-FAY-JAH)
    Difficulty chewing and swallowing liquids and/or solids. Swallowing disorders are common with all of the above and are also assessed and treated by speech-language pathologists.
  • Articulation disorders caused as a result of neurological damage such as stroke or head injury are termed motor speech disorder. 
  • Voice disorders: include inappropriate pitch, loudness, quality (hoarseness) or total voice loss. May result from damage to the vocal cords due to surgery, misuse of the voice, (overuse, yelling or singing) disease (cancer of the larynx), or other conditions (cleft palate, cerebral palsy or hearing impairment). 
  • Fluency disorders: (stuttering) a disruption in the normal flow of rhythm of speech. Characteristics may include repetition of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, hesitations, prolongations or interjections. Behaviours can vary from person to person. 

Hearing and Balance

  • Conductive Hearing Loss: Caused by problems in the outer and/or middle ear such as excessive wax, ear infections or fluid build-up. Generally temporary and usually medically treatable.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Problem: 90% of people with hearing impairments fall into this category. Commonly occurs as a result of natural aging process, excessive exposure to noise, head trauma and hereditary factors. Usually permanent but can often be helped with hearing aids or other assistive listening devices.
  • Mixed hearing Loss: A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.  
  • Auditory Processing Disorder: Associated with disorders of the auditory centres of the brain. Usually permanent but can often be assisted with auditory technical devices. One of the symptoms is difficulty in recognition of language with or without hearing loss. 
  • Tinnitus: (TIN-A-TUS) refers to “ringing in the ears” when no other sound is present. Tinnitus can sound like hissing, roaring, pulsing, whooshing, chirping, whistling or clicking. Tinnitus can occur in one ear or both ears and while tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, people with normal hearing can also have it. Sometimes the sounds are accompanied by pressure or pain in or around the ear or by a painful sensitivity to sounds. The impact of tinnitus ranges from annoying to debilitating.
  • Vertigo: The sensation that things are spinning or moving around you.