Steffi (legoline) wrote in little_details,

Ability Of Speaking After Long-Term Coma

I have no idea if it's important but the story is set in the present US.

Since this community has been a great help whenever I was stuck with a medical detail, I come bearing another question. I really hope you can help me.

I have a guy (around thirty, in good health before he fell into a coma) who wakes up from a coma after three years. I've done some research about the physical condition he might be in, what he's able to do and what not etc., but the one thing I'm stuck at is whether he would be able to speak or not after that time.

A friend of mine, a nurse, said that if she had to make an educated guess she'd say that his vocal chords may have regressed from the lack of usage. However googling on the subject to verify her theory brought me nothing. Terms I googled were "vocal chords", "comatose patient", "long-term coma" "speech therapy", "logopedia", "effects of long-time coma", "coma therapy", "post-coma" in all possible variations. I googled them in both German and English.

The only thing that kept popping up was aphasia. As far as I understand it, aphasia is a symptom of an injury to the brain that causes speech loss, but it's not a direct effect of the coma?

So my question is: provided that the speech centre in the patient's brain wasn't injured, would he be able to speak after three years in a coma? Would his vocal chords have regressed? To what extent would he be able to speak? Would he need speech therapy and if so, what would the therapy look like? What are typical practises?

All websites about speech therapy that I could find pretty much focus on aphasia, and I wasn't sure whether the therapy would apply to my character too...

Thank you so much in advance.
Tags: ~medicine: coma

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