Body processes

Communication – Function, Task & Diseases


“One cannot not communicate!” This quote from Paul Watzlawick is reality. As soon as man comes into contact with other people, he is in exchange with his environment. The ability to communicate is important for human survival, but it also often leads to conflict and misunderstanding.

What is communication?

The term communication refers to the process of transmission or the exchange of messages between people or – in technological terms – between the sender and the recipient. Verbal communication (the exchange of concepts, ideas, thoughts, and opinions) takes place through language.

In addition, there is also non-verbal communication. This takes place via the facial expressions , gestures and eye contact of the communication partner. This visual perception also allows people to communicate through writing and symbols.

In addition to the literal content of the language and the visual experiences, the way of speaking and the way of touching are also revealing in terms of communication. For example, people with a disability in one of their senses are able to communicate extensively with their environment with astonishing ease, since they can use other means to do so.

Function & task

Humans are social beings who interact with others through communication. The better a person communicates, the easier it is for them to assert their needs. With the help of their communicative skills, people can communicate when they are not doing well and what their needs are.

A basic human drive is the ability to relate, and for that you always need someone to talk to. When a person is alone and unable to communicate, he easily becomes ill – especially if this state was not freely chosen.

On the physical level, in addition to the sensory organs and the brain , the larynx is also involved in the communication processes. The news is received with the ears , with the eyes we see how the other person acts and behaves, through the skin and the sense of touch we sense temperature, aggression or love. The received stimuli and information are interpreted by the brain and lead to a reactive communication action.

The anatomy of the larynx is responsible for the human being being able to speak. The larynx, where voice production takes place, sits just below the pharynx . Anyone who swallows consciously can easily feel the location of the larynx, it moves up and down when swallowing.

Sounds and speech are created by vibration of the vocal cords located in the larynx . These are able to vibrate and can therefore produce sounds with the help of the escaping air from the lungs .

Many communication processes take place as a matter of course. This is also completely sufficient for most everyday situations. But misunderstandings when communicating are also not uncommon. If, for example, the facial expressions do not match what is said or something is said that is not what was meant, then communication becomes complicated.

Diseases & Ailments

Apart from misunderstandings in communication that occur due to unclear messages, there are also physical and psychological limitations or clinical pictures that can make communication difficult.

Physical complications include disorders of the vocal cords and larynx, ranging from inflammation to cancer . If areas in the brain that are important for communication are destroyed, as can be the case after a stroke , this is considered a neurological speech disorder , also known as aphasia.

It would be wrong to describe aphasia as a mental disorder or intellectual disability. Rather, it is a disorder of the ability to communicate, since the patient is no longer able to understand speech, produce speech or write and read. In contrast to a speech disorder, no motor problems are the cause of a speech disorder. Only the ability to speak is limited, not the ability to express language clearly and correctly.

A typical speech disorder, on the other hand, is stuttering . People who stutter experience limitations in the flow of speech and in the flow of language. They cannot voluntarily control these processes. The only option for those affected is to see a speech therapist if they want to improve their ability to communicate and deal with their disorder with more self-confidence. The term for a hasty, unclear, and irregularly paced speaking style is “cluttering”; The speech therapist is also the specialist for this.

A particularly extreme form of mentally induced limitations in the ability to communicate is mutism – the so-called psychogenic silence. This means that there is no detectable defect in the area of ​​the speech organs and yet the mutistic person remains silent; Strong manifestations of mutism often occur in connection with a psychiatric illness such as depression .

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.