Being able to participate in everyday conversation is a primary goal for many stroke patients with non-fluent aphasia. With non-fluent aphasia, you are able to understand everything easily. However, it can seem nearly impossible to get the right words to come out of your mouth. One way to measure your ability to participate in social activities is by tracking the amount of time you talk each day. It may seem easy enough to report how much you talk each day, but in reality, it can be quite difficult to quantify.
A better way to measure talk time?
Researchers from Australia found self-reported talk time to be inconsistent. For this reason, they developed an iPhone application called CommFit that can track how much you talk. Just like pedometers can track how many steps you take, CommFit can measure how many minutes you speak. Testing showed CommFit could measure talk time within an accuracy range of ±4% in quiet places and ±13% in everyday environments. CommFit may be able to help you reliably monitor your communication skills over time. This simple record could help make your progress feel more tangible as you continue through speech therapy.
Watch this researcher explain the Commfit
Testing CommFit for aphasia
With the help of CommFit, the researchers set out to accurately measure the time patients with aphasia speak. Twelve subjects with aphasia and seven control subjects without aphasia participated in the study. They wore a Bluetooth headset and used CommFit to track their talking time for 6 hours a day for two weeks. During this time, the subjects went about their everyday lives.
Could CommFit help aphasic patients with participation?
The results showed a moderate-to-high positive correlation between the 12 subjects’ participation scores and talk time. In essence, this means the more participants talked, the better their social interaction. As anticipated, the subjects without aphasia talked more often at 12% of the recorded time. In contrast, participants with aphasia only talked 7.5% of the recorded time. The difference detected between the two groups shows that CommFit may be able to gauge varying levels of participation.
In conclusion, this research showed that in a small sample of people with aphasia, talk time showed a correlation between social activity and participation. This finding indicates that talk time has the potential to be used as an outcome measure for aphasia rehabilitation. While the CommFit app is not yet available to the public, this doesn’t mean you can’t start trying to track your talk time in other ways. Visualizing your progress during rehabilitation may help you stay on track throughout recovery!
The first author of the original article was Caitlin Brandenburg, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.