Acatamathesia in a general sense is the inability to understand but it is typically used to refer to someone who cannot comprehend speech. Sometimes acatamathesia is used to refer to a perceptual impairment due to a brain lesion but this is less common usage than in regards to language comprehension. Acatamathesia can be a general impairment in the ability to comprehend speech but can also refer to the complete loss of speech comprehension. This condition can be caused by a central nervous system lesion or by damage to the right hemisphere of the brain around the occipital and parietal lobes.

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