Voice Aerobics and the SpeechVive Device
Evaluation and Trial of SpeechVive Device
SpeechVive is a small, portable device designed to improve speech and voice production in persons with Parkinson’s. The device is worn behind the ear like a hearing aid, and when the person speaks, background noise plays in their ear, acting upon a reflex, which causes them to speak louder. Because the device does not require “training,” it can be successfully used by persons with mild cognitive impairment, including reduced memory. Patients, who have completed other forms of speech and voice treatment, including the LSVT®, may still be candidates for a trial.
Voice Aerobics, private practice, is pleased to offer evaluation and trial of the SpeechVive™ device. Contact us by email or phone to obtain further information or to schedule an appointment, or download the referral form below and have your physician sign and fax to our office.
SpeechVive is designed to improve vocal loudness and/or speech clarity in patients with hypophonia. Hypophonia is a common speech impairment in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, and normal pressure hydrocephalus. An example of advanced hypophonia is the current speech pattern of Muhammad Ali. Using the SpeechVive™ device, patients turn day to day communication settings into cues to improve speech and communication capacity. In the first round of clinical trials conducted by researcher, Jessica Huber, PhD at Purdue, over 80% of patients showed immediate improvement from simply wearing the device for the first time.
The SpeechVive device works by detecting when a patient speaks, and at that time, the device plays a background noise in one of the patient’s ears, which is an autonomous cue to elicit louder speech, through the Lombard Effect. The Lombard Effect is a well known phenomenon where speakers naturally speak louder under conditions of background noise. When the patient is not speaking, SpeechVive™ does not deliver babble noise to the ear.
Clinical trials at Purdue University indicate hypophonic patients respond to the Lombard Effect with improved speech clarity and increased vocal loudness, creating an opportunity for a new hypophonia treatment course. This treatment differs from existing treatment plans in that it takes place during daily living activities, outside of what could be considered “traditional” delivery paradigms. In the treatment program proposed, hypophonic individuals wear the device in natural communication contexts, achieving a louder, clearer, and more intelligible voice. The device allows patients to obtain treatment effects through everyday occurrences, without needing to remember to self-cue, which may be an advantage for patients with concomitant memory problems. Desensitization to the device masking cue has not been observed. Additionally, SpeechVive collects data about device usage to assist in supporting the achievement of therapeutic goals.