The Voice Aerobics Hi-VOLT® 4 PD voice-on-light is a calibrated feedback tool designed to help individuals with hypophonia (too low/soft a voice) increase their vocal intensity, through practice, to a more normal level of loudness.
How does it work? The calibrated, voice activated light is housed within a bracelet. When the switch is turned on, the light will be activated when the users’ voice reaches the appropriate level. The sensitivity has been set at the factory, and designed so that the bracelet won’t be triggered constantly by all of the ambient noise in a room. It is important to turn the bracelet OFF when not in use, or the battery will drain more quickly.
Do I have to wear it as a bracelet? The Hi-VOLT was designed as a bracelet for convenience and for use in PT or other exercise such as Rock Steady Boxing. In speech therapy, however, I affix the device to whatever reading material a patient is using and position it near eye level. When used this way, I position the bracelet approximately 12-13” from the patient’s mouth/body, with a sound level meter at an equal distance for accurate measures of vocal intensity. When using the bracelet at home, I suggest patients cut a piece of ribbon 12-13”, depending on their distance, and attach it to the bracelet so they use the device at the distance best for them each time they practice. Can’t activate the light? Move it closer and measure your distance. As your muscles and voice get stronger you may find you can use the device at the recommended twelve inch distance.
How do I use the Hi-VOLT in speech therapy? Incorporating the Hi-VOLT into an initial speech and voice assessment of patients can help therapists and patients quickly identify stimulability for an improvement in loudness. Typically, I collect acoustic data using the LSVT® Companion Softwear. Patients complete three tasks (un-cued) using a standardized protocol, and then repeat the tasks using the Hi-VOLT voice-on-light, with a single cue to the patient: “speak loud enough to activate the light.”
Acoustic data I have collected on over 90 patients is currently being analyzed, and the measurable improvement along with perceptual improvement collected on an audio-recording can be a great way to demonstrate to a patient that they have the ability to be louder. With re-assurance that the voice instrument is working, therapy can focus on strengthening, home practice, and calibration to a more normal level of loudness.
As with any voice therapy with a focus on loudness, the patient should never be straining to produce voice. If a patient is enrolled in a formal speech therapy protocol such as LSVT® LOUD or SPEAK OUT®, the Hi-VOLT can be used in treatment for feedback, and also at home for concurrent feedback during home practice. Eventually, a patient may begin to titrate use of the Hi-VOLT as their internal calibration to a normal loudness level improves. Other individuals may continue to need the feedback during speech practice. I usually recommend to patients that they use the device at least once a week to re-calibrate to the level of loudness necessary for effective practice and voice strengthening.
How do I use the Hi-VOLT in Physical and Occupational Therapy or during exercise? Physical and Occupational therapists and exercise specialists who work with individuals with Parkinson’s like to incorporate the Hi-VOLT into a patient’s physical exercise program. Therapists like Dr. Becky Farley, creator of PWR!4Life Exercise4BrainChange®, incorporates the Hi-VOLT bracelet into physical exercise, allowing the patients to stay loud with freedom of movement. The cue to the patient is exactly the same: “speak loud enough to activate the light.” Counting out loud while performing high amplitude movements provides patients the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, providing voice practice during physical exercise.
Voice practice ALL DAY LONG: One of the greatest challenges for individuals with Parkinson’s hypophonia is finding the time or remembering to do some speech practice daily, so that the improvements attained in speech therapy are long-lasting. Once a patient is outside of a therapy setting and no longer being cued by the therapist for loudness, they may begin to detrain and revert back to their low voice. Participation in a weekly after-therapy class may be the best way to guard against de-training, but, when this is not an available option for a patient, use of the Hi-VOLT® at home may help them stay calibrated. The Hi-VOLT® 4 PD audio CD is a recording of guided practice approximately 22 minutes long. Patients are guided through hierarchical tasks, beginning with words and advancing to sentences, all the while being reminded to “speak loud enough to see the light.” Because the Hi-VOLT bracelet is portable, it can even be taken along and used while riding as a passenger in the car . In this instance, I advise patients to read aloud street and business signs. Advertisements on marquees. Repeat something heard on the radio. There’s NO RULES….no matter where you live, where you go, or what language you speak…just SPEAK UP and SEE the LIGHT!
How do I change the Hi-VOLT bracelet battery? This is probably the most frequent question I receive. At the present time, the battery CANNOT be changed. The battery life is 45 continuous hours, and if used daily 30-60 minutes a day, the bracelet will function for 7-8 weeks. It’s important to turn the device off when not in use to avoid unnecessary drain on the battery. If you have found the bracelet to be of benefit and are ready to re-order, you might consider taking advantage of some of the special pricing which includes 10% off when 2 are purchased, and if 3 are ordered, a 4th is provided for free bringing the cost to only $15 a unit.
So, What Are You Waiting For? No Matter What Language You Speak
Hi-VOLT 4 PD voice-on-light can help!
;ارفع صوتك وانظر إلى الن; Habla y mira la luz; Parla e guarda la luce; Spreek je uit en zie het licht
My Mission: To enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP * FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice
Roger, thank you for your email. I know that staying the course with speech practice is difficult for everyone. Concurrent feedback can provide a target for voice and hopefully make practice fun!
Thank you, Debbie. Just trying to help patients benefit from speech and voice practice using concurrent feedback which is meaningful and makes practice more fun.
Still doing great things for individuals with PD, Mary. Keep up the great work!
Thank you Mary for another fantastic tool!