Pure Word Deafness
Acoustic aphasia; Verbal auditory agnosia; Word deafness; Word sound deafness
Pure word deafness (PWD) is a rare, acquired, neurological disorder characterized by severely impaired comprehension of spoken language in the presence of intact written language comprehension, spontaneous verbal production, written expression and environmental sound recognition, as well as normal pure tone hearing thresholds.
PWD is a rare syndrome. It is most often observed acutely in association with cerebrovascular accident, but may occur due to traumatic brain injury, tumor, primary progressive aphasia, frontotemporal dementia, seizures, and other trauma. Even early accounts generally assumed the malady was due to brain lesion, though not universally. In 1907, Pierre Janet described a case of “hysterical word deafness” in a teenage girl who had typhoid fever at age 12 and became “nervous,” exhibited episodes of “sleeping” with her eyes open even while sewing, and...
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