Has your wife been having trouble hearing you lately? Do your friends keep asking you to repeat what you have just said on the phone? Are your kids constantly saying, “Huh?” and “What?” and is it driving you crazy!?! Individuals with Parkinson’s disease often experience issues with decreased vocal volume affecting people’s ability to hear what they are saying. This article reviews the voice and speech deficits associated with Parkinson’s disease and how LSVT LOUD® can help!
How does Parkinson’s disease affect your voice and speech?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that effects overall mobility secondary to a depletion of dopamine in the substantia nigra, which is an area of the brain that plays an important role in motor planning and movement. The muscles that control voice and speech including the vocal folds, lips, tongue, and jaw are affected along with the rest of the body. The disease process causes these muscles to weaken, decreasing both their range and strength. The result is a weaker voice and small mouth movements resulting in speech that is very hard to understand.
How can LSVT LOUD® help?
LSVT LOUD® is an intensive and evidence-based therapy protocol that can only be initiated by a certified speech-language pathologist. This program consists of 16, one hour sessions across the span of 4 weeks with required additional homework. The program address vocal amplitude and increased mouth range of motion utilizing one simple cue during the exercise protocol, “THINK LOUD.” Through the intensive voice exercises, the patent builds vocal fold strength along with a new internal cueing system which helps them communicate more effectively with their family and friends.
LSVT LOUD® Facts:
While there are still many questions to be answered about the causes of the disease, there are a few risk factors:
- Age – People who are 60 and above are generally more likely to get the disease
- Race – People who are white generally get the disease more than others
- Head Injury – if you have a history of concussion or several concussions with loss of consciousness – this increases your risk
- Gender – men are more likely to get it than women
- Where you live – potentially due to the exposure of certain chemicals in the area that you live
LSVT LOUD® is an evidence-based voice therapy program that can facilitate better communication in multiple environments with multiple communication partners. Sage Outpatient and Day Neuro Program has two LSVT certified speech therapists who are ready and willing to help you achieve your voice and speech goals so that you can communicate more effectively with the people that you love. For more information on how to get started with the LSVT LOUD® program at Sage Outpatient Services, give us a call at 225-906-4097.