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November 1955

Congenital Auditory Aphasia

Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ohio

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1955;62(5):509-514. doi:10.1001/archotol.1955.03830050051011

Speech is dependent upon interpretation of auditory images and upon the motor centers controlling expression. It also depends on the association of these images with the motor centers controlling expression. If one of these mechanisms does not function, we speak of aphasia. In other words, aphasia is a general term including any disturbance of language caused by lesions of the brain and not resulting from faulty peripheral innervation of the speech muscles or from mental deficiency.

Aphasia in adults has been known for more than a hundred years. Wernicke, in 1874, described what is known today as sensory or auditory asphasia and differentiated this condition from motor aphasia. He described this kind of aphasia as a loss of comprehension of words due to abolition of sound images, caused by a lesion in the left superior temporal gyrus. He called this condition word deafness. The patient can still hear, he recognizes