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A guide to left hemisphere brain damage

Marissa Russell, MS, CF-SLP | Traumatic brain injury, Stroke

Have you ever heard someone talk about being “left-brained” or “right-brained”? People who consider themselves to be “right-brained” are often thought to be artistic, creative, and intuitive. “Left-brained” individuals, on the other hand, may be more logical, analytical, and detail-oriented.

While it may not be entirely accurate to view personality in this way, it makes sense that people think of the brain as being separated into two parts. The brain is divided into the right side (or hemisphere) and the left side. These hemispheres are connected in the middle by a bundle of nerve fibers known as the corpus callosum. Because of this, the two sides of the brain work together in some ways. However, they control different functions and abilities that we use in our day-to-day lives. That is why people who have damage to the left side of their brain often experience different challenges compared to those who have right hemisphere brain damage.

What is controlled by the left side of the brain?

Some people call the left hemisphere the “language hub” of the brain. It is not hard to see where this name came from, because this part of the brain plays a significant role in our ability to use and understand language, including reading and writing. We also rely on the left hemisphere to help us speak, solve problems, make computations, and move the right side of our body, since each hemisphere of the brain controls movement on the opposite side of the body.

How left hemisphere brain damage impacts daily life

People who have been impacted by left hemisphere brain damage often experience communication, cognition, and movement-related problems.

Left hemisphere brain damage can lead to:

  • Difficulty expressing and understanding language at the word, sentence, or conversational level
  • Trouble reading and writing
  • Changes in speech
  • Deficits in planning, organization, and memory as those skills relate to language
  • Weakness or lack of movement on the right side of the body

If you have damage to this part of your brain, you may find it hard to retrieve the words you want and to then put those words together following grammatical rules when you are talking to someone. Additionally, it may be hard to understand what others are saying to you. These difficulties are characteristic of aphasia. You may have trouble coordinating the movements of your mouth to say words (apraxia), experience weakness in the muscles you need for speech (dysarthria), or have trouble moving the right side of your body altogether. It can also be more difficult to reason through problems, remember things you hear, and put ideas in order. Any of these impairments can create challenges that impact quality of life.

How is left hemisphere brain damage Treated?

Individuals with brain damage have been shown to benefit from rehabilitation, including (but not limited to) speech-language therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Clinicians can employ evidence-based therapeutic methods to improve and support speech, language, cognitive, and physical abilities that may have been impacted post-injury. These therapies can enable patients to live more functionally and independently within their communities.

The other great news is that the brain has amazing abilities to heal and compensate for damage. Neuroimaging studies have proven that our brains are “plastic”, meaning that they can change the way they work.  We’ve seen evidence of different parts of the brain taking over for damaged parts – even areas of the brain in the opposite hemisphere! Check out our blog post on the 10 principles of neuroplasticity to learn more.

Tips for caring for someone with left hemisphere brain damage

There are many ways that caregivers can support a loved one as they navigate these newfound challenges. While the areas in which someone may need help will vary, here are a few suggestions:

  • Change how you communicate – There are many strategies that can both help your loved one understand you, as well as assist them in conveying their own message. A few helpful actions may include:
    • Speaking slowly
    • Using simple language and short phrases
    • Writing down key words
    • Making sure you have their attention before speaking
    • Limiting interruptions
    • Giving your loved one extra time to formulate their message and then speak
    • Utilizing alternative ways of communicating (e.g., writing, drawing, and using gestures)
    • Asking “yes/no” questions during communication breakdowns
  • Eliminate background noise – excess noise can be distracting and make it hard to focus, communicate, and implement strategies.
  • Help with planning and problem-solving – this can involve helping your loved one write out the steps to a task before completing it or using tools such as planners and calendars.
  • Lead with empathy ­– Your loved one will be struggling with certain skills that were previously second nature, and empathy can foster patience when situations become difficult. Remember, your mental and emotional health is important throughout this process, and empathy can help.
  • Take care of yourself­ – just like emergency protocols before a flight, “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others”. In order to provide the best care for your loved one, you must make sure you are taking proper care of yourself. Seek support, take time to participate in the activities you enjoy, and be mindful of your own health.

SLP talks brain injury fatigueMarissa is a practicing speech-language pathologist clinical fellow serving English and Spanish-speaking patients at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital. She is also a Clinical and Scientific Consultant for Constant Therapy Health, where she is involved in content development, advisement on product features, and other app-related clinical support.

References and further reading

Brain Injury Association of America. (2020, March 18). Functions of the Brain. Retrieved from

Cleveland Clinic. How to Better Communicate with Stroke Patients. Retrieved from–and-left-brain-strokes-tips-for-the-caregiver

Josse, G., & Tzourio-Mazoyer, N. (2004). Hemispheric specialization for language. Brain Research Reviews44(1), 1-12.


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  1. Robert Judd

    Good information. How do I increase therapy to improve speech?

    • Constant Therapy

      Great question! There are many components to improving your speech, and the best way to understanding exactly where your strengths and weaknesses lie is to get a full evaluation by a Speech-Language Pathologist. Additionally, the Constant Therapy app can help to drill down on exactly what you need to work on to improve your speech by looking at your performance within the app – our app adjusts based on your accuracy and speed to give you harder or easier tasks.

    • Carolyn

      I am 83 years old had severe head trauma at the ages of 3 and 40 and a milder on at age 12. I have been tested for oxygen flow to my brain recently which shows deminished O2 flow to the left side of my brain. Word finding in regular conversation and organization has gotten worse. Are there other therapies I should try other than the an anti aging program and nutritional program that I am on?
      Thanks you, Carolyn

      • Constant Therapy

        We suggest that you talk to your healthcare provider – they are the ones who know your specific situation best. You can try the Constant Therapy app for free for 14 days: We have exercises that work on word retrieval, naming, speaking– just to name a few.

      • I hate my life

        They need to make programs that actually HELP. Everything that is out there is absolutely absurd. Their needs to be actions not just the patient repeat tasks when they are not working with enough. The parts of the brain that have been damaged are closed off. They need to be reopened at replenished restarted rejuvenated while doing repetitive tasks to sustain renewed functions. Oxygen just definitely be restored and definitely blood flow, electrical currents should be reestablished as well, certain nutrients, chemicals etc may be incapable of being produced as normal or may not be reaching certain parts of the brain anymore, restoring these things are vital to attaining functions and actually keeping them for a decent time within one’s lifespan. But you know what there isn’t anything like this except well some TMS I think it is where they use an electro magnetic pulse but only on the left side of the skull, gee great what about the right side anyways. It’s al stupid if you ask me. I’m a multiple stroke victim, multiple head impact injury victim as well yet I can think of things that are needed why can’t people that have their whole brain functioning working on new actual solutions every day and why hasnt anything been implemented that’s effective. Forgot that lobotomy bull. No thank you. I don’t want that, I don’t think anyone wants that and shouldn’t be stuck with it bing an option nor have it become the option against their will and against their knowing. Bogus. All of it. Go from having a screaming 638 IQ to being a dud before stepping into my twenties. I’m 36 now what gives. Still nothing be practiced widely that does anything. What is that? 🤯 And no I do not need a micro chip implant either, just foolish tom foolery.

        We suggest that you talk to your healthcare provider – they are the ones who know your specific situation best.
        They never have correct information either, health insurance, any kind, gets someone no where. The technology is out there, the people are out there that could. But it just doesn’t happen. Nothing happens but more brain damage and more disfunction. … How is disfunction spelled incorrectly spell check? Does it need a hyphen oh no its a y where the I be dysfunction. How about this to start why not in every medical office, facility and hospital haven’t be a questionaire do you feel you have brain damage and medical documentation stating so. Then tally it up and see just how real if a problem it is. And a second questionaire that is a fill in asks What do you think you would have contributed to society by now since your injuries had you have global functioning restored by half of what you did have?
        I’m upset enough to voice this, why care of being polite if others are so impolite by forcing inclusion and exclusion upon people that do have damage, such as my self. Why is it that I had to be pulled this way for in my life after injury. It has done nothing but make matters worse.

        • Constant Therapy

          Hello, thank you again for commenting and sharing your perspective. Your words are very powerful, and it is clear that you have faced significant challenges due to the current healthcare system structure and its actions (and lack thereof). At Constant Therapy, we strongly believe that stroke and TBI survivors deserve access to high-quality, comprehensive care that helps them achieve their own goals on their own terms. It is people like you who inspire us to keep innovating and finding better ways to make that a reality. If you have other ideas about how we could better advocate for stroke and TBI survivors, please send us an email at We greatly appreciate your input.

  2. Clark Pearson

    Thank you for your help! I appreciate your articles, and I will work more time on my iPad, and I hope I get a new iPad, with my old iPad

  3. Morgan Hannon

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I would like to thank you for the informative emails that always give me details about my injury. The last email that I received has let me know that I am working in the right direction. I hope that my brain health will be much more improved next year.

    I hope that you all have a nice day and stay safe.

    Kindest regards,
    Morgan. (In Ireland)

  4. Kay Seares

    As the wife of a stroke victim I’ve found your article very interesting and helpful. Thank you.

  5. dickykiprop

    as I youngman of a left brain damage thankyou.

    • Constant Therapy

      We’re glad this article felt helpful to you. We wish you well in your recovery.

  6. jean

    Thank you for any help – What I would like to know more about is where is all the evidence and the ways we can implement the knowledge every Neuro Scientist boasts of—-AKA BRAIN PLASTICITY and all the reports of how new connections can be made in the brain.
    So much reporting of studies and findings but no real implementation of this….We need ways to heal and regrow pathways in the brain.
    Any thoughts? I look every month for new therapies. CT is something to do and is a form of entertainment while it hit a wall of what is possible- it certainly is not life changing.

  7. Dale Schaeffer

    I had an auto accident in 1998. I lost most of my hearing, balance and I couldn’t see mirror images. I’m on my 3rd set of hearing aids. I still do all of my exercises (neuro-vestibula type) 3 times a day. As I got older I started doing weight lifting since I still fall occasionally. My recent brain scan showed no damage. I figured they got it mixed up. My neurologist said my damage is molecular now. I don’t know what that means. How can I get rid of molecular damage? I’m willing to try anything.

    • Constant Therapy

      Definitely reach out to your neurologist and/or your primary care physician for more information! They will be able to tell you more about your specific situation and how to best treat it!

  8. Jonathan Holloman

    Thank you for having this article up. I suffered a TBI IN 2018.since then I have recovered enough to use my left hand to type. I am left handed.. I try to move my right hand and continue to try and get it to move…on it’s own. I’m open for any suggestions one has for me to get this arm to move on it’s own.

    • Constant Therapy

      Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. We suggest that you talk to your provider and ask for suggestions. We wish you all the best.

  9. Niru kabra

    My bro has met with a major accident and has undergone brain surgery 20 days back.He us still unconscious and on intermittent ventilation and tracheostomy. Doctors say that his left part of brain has damaged a lot and his recovery to a normal human will only be a miracle. His right side too is effected. Also a big financial issue. Please help and let me know if this can be cured. I am from India.please help me .My bro is just 38 years old

  10. Janet S Street

    I was injured in a car wreck when I was 5 yrs old. I am in my 60’s now. I had open skull fracture and damage to my left prefrontal cortex. Since then, I have had troubles in planning, & in seeing the possible consequences of my decision making before I make a particular decision. It’s subtle, but it’s had a profound impact on my life in “the real world”.

    • Constant Therapy

      Thank you for sharing this Janet. This is definitely a shared experience, and it is never too late to improve your planning and decision making skills. We are rooting for you!


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