What is echolalia?
Echolalia is the unsolicited and meaningless repetition (echoing) of another person’s vocalizations, or speech. The person with echolalia may repeat noises, phrases, or words. Echolalia is a symptom of brain damage or psychiatric disorders, and the person with echolalia may or may not be able to communicate normally or understand others. Children with autism and developmental disorders, as well as very young children, may exhibit echolalia. It is not the same as Tourette syndrome, in which people may make involuntary verbal exclamations, although in some cases, echolalia may be present in people with Tourette syndrome. Also known as echologia or echophrasia.
How common is echolalia?
Echolalia is common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Which signs and symptoms can echolalia usually be associated with?
Related signs and symptoms include:
- Repeating a question instead of answering it
- Repeating a question and then answering it
- Frustration during conversation
- Irritability, especially when asked something
What causes echolalia?
Causes of echolalia can include:
- The most common association of echolalia is with autism. Children, who are autistic, are often seen to repeat what they hear, instead of answering or replying back. Research studies have also shown that the reason behind this repetition for the autistic children is to stay in a conversation. Since they still haven’t been able to develop the language process of their own and cannot produce their spontaneous speech to express their thoughts and feeling, they repeat what they hear.
- Aphasia. This is another disorder in which the people suffer from echolalia. Aphasia is a disorder in which, due to brain damage, the patient is unable to understand speech in its spoken or written form. In that case, without knowing what he/she is speaking, the patient just repeats what is heard. The speech is vague and the language function gradually deteriorates.
- Dementia. Caused by a brain injury or a brain disease, dementia is a persistent and chronic disorder of the mental process. Patients suffering from dementia are often seen to have impaired reasoning, memory disorder and echolalia. Since they lose their comprehensive capacity, they fail to produce own speech and hence, only repeat what they hear.
- Epilepsy. When, the brain experiences certain neurological disorders due to loss of consciousness and sensory disturbances that occur suddenly, the patient experiences seizures. Echolalia is often a phenomenon that epilepsy patients are found with.
- Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a debilitating illness that is chronic and severe in nature. An individual suffering from this illness, experiences psychotic symptoms in which he/she is unable to differentiate between reality and the unreal and is out of touch with reality. Along with delusion, hallucination and other likely symptoms, echolalia too is a symptom of schizophrenia. In most cases, the patients are seen to suffer from the delayed echolalia in which the patient repeats whatever he/she hears, after hours, days or even weeks.
- Catatonia Schizophrenia. This is another type of schizophrenia in which the patient, in a disturbed mental state, moves and behaves abnormally. The type is characterized by a no movement phase and a euphoric phase. The patients suffering from this illness and those in the euphoric phase are often found to have echolalia and repeat whatever is heard.
- Tourette’s Syndrome. The very illness called Tourette’s Syndrome is a very prominent example of echolalia. In this condition the patient repeats whatever he or she listens to.
Apart from these, corticobasal degeneration, Pick’s disease, pervasive developmental disorder and progressive supranuclear palsy are some other disorders that have echolalia as an associated symptom.
The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of echolalia. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
What increases my risk for echolalia?
Please consult with your doctor for further information.
When to see your doctor
When should I see my doctor?
On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage echolalia?
These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with echolalia:
People with echolalia may work with other people at home to develop their communication skills. There are text and online training programs available to help parents get positive responses from their children. Encouraging a child to use limited vocabulary may make it easier for them to learn to communicate more effectively.
Echolalia is a natural part of language development. It’s not always a good idea to prevent it completely. To avoid permanent echolalia in children, parents must encourage other forms of communication. Expose a child to a wide variety of words and phrases. In time, most children can overcome their echolalia naturally.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: February 14, 2019 | Last Modified: November 29, 2019
Echolalia. https://www.healthline.com/health/echolalia. Accessed February 14, 2019.
What is Echolalia: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis, Prevention, Associated Disorders. https://www.epainassist.com/autism-spectrum-disorder/what-is-echolalia. Accessed February 14, 2019.
Echolalia: Symptoms & Signs. https://www.medicinenet.com/echolalia/symptoms.htm. Accessed February 14, 2019.