Can You Hear Me Now?

Hi-VOLT® 4 PD is a calibrated, voice activated light bracelet, which can be used by Parkinson’s patients in and out of speech and physical therapy. Feedback from the Hi-VOLT ® voice-on-light can help the user gauge the level of loudness required to be understood by others. Since the light is calibrated, patients only have to speak loud enough to activate the light.

Hi-VOLT® 4 PD was developed by speech-language pathologist, Mary Spremulli, and clinical data collected in her practice over 3 years on 63 patients has shown that  at the time of the initial evaluation, most patients were able to attain a 7.5dB increase in sound pressure level in response to the cue: “speak loud enough to activate the light.” Patients using the Hi-VOLT® light during home practice report that it helps them judge if they are reaching their goals for a more normal level of loudness.

Hi-VOLT speech practice

Hi-VOLT® 4 PD helps patient monitor volume during speech practice

Augmented Feedback and Skill Learning

Feedback during exercise can come in many forms but it’s primarily used to guide performance to an intended outcome. Giving augmented feedback is a significant role for a speech or physical therapists when working with patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), as these patients   often under scale movements and voice. External feedback tools can be helpful to patients in and out of therapy, helping them re-calibrate to normal by seeing and feeling the effort associated with specific tasks such as walking and speaking.

Hypophonia or low voice volume, is a common speech problem for many people with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, therefore, vocal function exercises which aim to increase or improve vocal intensity form the foundation of most speech therapy programs such as the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment ( LSVT® LOUD) or SPEAK OUT! ®. However, in addition to reduced volume of speech, many people with PD also lack accurate sensory-perceptual awareness regarding their own speech, and although most are capable of being louder, without reliable feedback patients may have difficulty accurately judging their own vocal intensity

Augmented feedback can save a learner time and energy in learning skills, and also add to information detected as well as information one cannot detect. External feedback helps a learner achieve a goal more quickly (guidance); influences the person’s perception of his/ her own ability in a skill (motivation); and improves the chance that the performer will repeat the performance (re-inforcement).