The Parkinson’s Foundation states that 89% of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience speech and voice disorders, including soft, monotone, breathy and hoarse voice and uncertain articulation. A speech-language pathologist can help patients maintain the communication skills they currently have, in addition to helping them regain confidence in conversational skills they might have lost due to isolation. It is ideal to see an SLP face-to-face for a complete voice and speech evaluation and eventual treatment.
As patients progress, we offer tools through SPEAK OUT!® and The LOUD Crowd® that combine patient and family education, intensive individual therapy, and ongoing group therapy to target a range of speech deficit areas. This involves patients participating in individual and group sessions with their SLP to monitor progress and refresh skills as needed.
SPEAK OUT!® and The LOUD Crowd® Programs
Speech & Hearing Associates is proud to provide this evidence-based program for people with Parkinson’s disease and other related Parkinson-plus conditions including, essential tremor, progressive supra-nuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, Lewey body dementia, multiple systems atrophy, and atypical Parkinsonism.
SPEAK OUT!® and The LOUD Crowd® focus on teaching patients to speak and live with intent and improve:
- Vocal volume
- Speech clarity
- Swallowing skills
- Cognitive abilities
The program combines patient and family education, intensive individual therapy, and ongoing group therapy to target a range of deficit areas. Patients begin the program by participating in SPEAK OUT!®, which consists of intensive individual speech therapy 3 times per week for about one month. Once patients graduate from SPEAK OUT!®, they transition into The LOUD Crowd®, a therapy group focused on maintaining skills learned in SPEAK OUT!® and on establishing a safe, supportive community for people with Parkinson’s disease. Patients also attend a follow-up session with their SLP every 3-6 months to monitor progress and refresh skills as needed.
What Are The Next Steps:
- We will first arrange for you to have a speech-language evaluation with our certified SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® speech-language pathologist (SLP).
- After your initial evaluation you and your loved ones will attend an information session to better understand the impact of Parkinson’s disease and related disorders on speech, voice, swallowing, and cognition. You will also learn more about the treatment program and how it will help you to achieve your goals.
- You will begin intensive individual speech therapy with our SPEAK OUT!® certified SLP. Sessions will be held 3 times a week for one month and last for 30 minutes each. You will also receive a workbook containing once-to-twice daily practice lessons that are crucial for improving and maintaining skills in speech, voice, swallowing, and cognition.
- Once the SPEAK OUT!® portion of the program is completed, you will be enrolled in our LOUD Crowd® therapy group where you will continue to maintain and carry-over the skills learned in SPEAK OUT!® to natural contexts while building a support network of people with Parkinson’s disease and related disorders.
At SHA, SPEAK OUT!® sessions are being conducted at various times throughout the week and our LOUD Crowd® meets once a week. Sessions will be held both in-person and virtually. Medicare and most insurances cover this program. Visit the Parkinson’s Voice Project’s website
LSVT-LOUD® (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment)
LSVT-LOUD® (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) is a structured treatment program for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, and other diagnoses who are experiencing:
- Low vocal volume
- Difficulty varying pitch
- Breathy quality of voice
- Mumbled or slurred speech
- Reduced facial and vocal expression
LSVT typically entails 4 weekly 60 minute treatment sessions over 4 consecutive weeks with daily homework and carryover strategies. Treatment focuses on LOUD voice production which targets healthy vocal and respiratory function to allow for improved communication and quality of life. Treatment goals include independent self-monitoring for natural use of effort needed to produce an appropriately loud, healthy voice. A modified treatment schedule can be implemented while principles of LSVT are maintained.
SpeechEasyPD (SpeechEasy for patients with Parkinson’s)
The value of being able to communicate with others is paramount in our daily lives. Having the ability to express your wants, needs and thoughts clearly can often be taken for granted, and if you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease the ability to communicate effectively may no longer be an option. SpeechEasyPD can help.
SpeechEasyPD is a tool to help you regain control of your speech. It is proven technology which can be used to increase speech intelligibility in those with Parkinson’s. Worn in one ear and similar in appearance to a hearing aid, SpeechEasyPD has been shown to help those with Parkinson’s increase their ability to communicate more effectively and confidently. SpeechEasyPD delivers Delayed Auditory Feedback (a time delay) and Frequency Altered Feedback (a change in pitch) to help address speech intelligibility issues, specifically the repetitions of speech that many people with the disease exhibit. When using DAF and FAF, a person experiences what is called the “choral speech effect.” Choral speech is simply people speaking together in unison and it has been shown that this effect can help lessen repetitions and hurried speech. Simply put, by using the device and hearing oneself speak at a slight delay and change in pitch, the brain perceives that as someone speaking along with you. Therefore, the effects of choral speech are present.
In addition to helping decrease repetitions of speech that some patients with Parkinson’s experience, SpeechEasyPD can also help address other common speech issues. Some of these issues include vocal loudness, articulation issues and an increased rate of speech. SpeechEasyPD can also help with self-monitoring of speech and overall, improve the client’s communication as a whole.