Parkinson’s Disease

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How Common Are Speech & Voice Problems in Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson’s with Lewy Body dementia, and Parkinson’s Plus diagnosis, such as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy may all have speech and voice impairment as an associated non-motor symptom. In the Fall of 2012, the (affiliate of the Parkinson Alliance) published results of a survey that included over 700 participants, and their findings were similar to reports of others, indicating that the vast majority of individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience speech difficulties.

Treatment approaches for speech disturbances in Parkinson’s disease (PD), include the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® (LSVT), Speak Out®, developed by the Texas Voice Project, and the newer addition of the SpeechVive®, a device intervention which uses auditory masking as a method of improving vocal intensity (loudness).

Patient’s who have mild to moderate dementia or other cognitive changes associated with their disease may not obtain similar benefit from traditional treatment approaches, but may still benefit from a guided program such as the Voice Aerobics™ DVD. Voice Aerobics™ created in 1999, was designed for patients to use before, during, and after formal speech therapy treatment. Because the exercises are recorded and guided, even patients with mild memory impairment may be able to perform the program on their own and benefit from some voice strengthening techniques, while reducing dependence on their spouse or other caregiver.

When going out, visiting with friends or family or if still working, a personal voice amplifier can provide power for your voice, any time you need it, and anytime YOU choose it, putting the power of communication in your hands!