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Research and Projects

Group Singing for Aphasia

Who is involved?

Theme: CLAHRC - Person-Centred Care
Status: Complete

Click  here  for  Aphasia  Friendly  information  about  the  study

NEW: Find out about SPA Trial 

Read a BITE-sized summary of this project


“We think that group singing can help people with communication difficulties after stroke by creating a safe space and strong bonds between people. This is important for people to rebuild social connections and confidence that can be devastated by stroke.”

Dr Mark Tarrant 

Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia also experience difficulty reading and writing. Aphasia is caused by damage to the parts of the brain that are responsible for understanding and using language. Common causes of brain damage that can trigger aphasia include stroke, severe head injury, brain tumour and conditions that damage the brain and nervous system over time e.g. Alzheimers disease.

Information available from the NHS suggests that Aphasia is one of the most common problems arising from conditions affecting the brain. Speakability, a charity for people affected by aphasia, estimates that there are currently 250,000 people in the UK who have aphasia, with 20,000 new cases occurring each year.

Most people affected by aphasia are 65 or over. This is because stroke and common progressive neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, tend to affect people in this age group. The outlook for people with aphasia depends on the cause of the condition, the extent of the initial brain injury and the severity of symptoms. However, most people with aphasia will make at least some degree of recovery and many will recover fully.


Project aims

  1. To develop a project team consisting of service users, voluntary sector, clinicians and academics
  2. To develop a 'group singing' intervention for people with stroke that have aphasia, to address wellbeing and quality of life


Next Steps

The study is now complete and the final report has been submitted to the Stroke Association who funded the research. The research team are writing up their research for publication and are hoping to obtain funding to enable them to continue the study further.


News stories

Working with music groups to improve recovery for people with aphasia

How can singing support stroke recovery?

Volunteers required for Singing with Aphasia study



Aphasia Friendly information about the study

Presentation slides from the Joining Forces stroke conference 2018

Stroke Association webpage Singing for People with Aphasia (SPA)

Singing for People with Aphasia (SPA): Results of a pilot randomised controlled trial of a group singing intervention to improve wellbeing.

Singing for people with aphasia (SPA): a protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial of a group singing intervention to improve well-being


Others Involved

Dr Raff Calitri, Thava Priya Sugavanam, Professor Rod Taylor, Professor Chris Code, Mary Carter (Trial Researcher), Anne Spencer