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Speech in Parkinson's Disease

Speech can become difficult to understand due to low volume, hoarse voice and impaired tongue control. The individual with moderate to advanced Parkinson Disease may avoid talking altogether.

Talking on the phone can be especially troublesome. Family and friends may avoid conversation with this individual because her speech is so difficult to understand.


LSVT:  Lee Silverman Voice Therapy

This speech therapy program has been studied extensively for more than 20 years.  Research has demonstrated its efficacy. Individuals who actively participate with thespecific protocol for LSVT can make significant progress in speech intelligibility and maintain that progress over time. 


LSVT Protocol:

  1. Individual therapy 4 consecutive days a week.

  2. Sessions 60 minutes each.

  3. Treatment duration 4 weeks.

  4. Intensive, highly structured therapy sessions.

  5. Daily carryover assignments (30 days/entire month).


Several unique features of LSVT:

  1. Speech therapy focuses on a single parameter, healthy vocal loudness.

  2. An ENT evaluation is required prior to participation in LSVT.

  3. LSVT  has been used successfully with adults who have other neurological impairments (e.g., Multiple Sclerosis, Ataxia, Stroke).

  4. LSVT has also been used with children (e.g., Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy) to enhance speech clarity.

  5. Active participation in speech exercises using client specific material.

  6. Client works with maximal effort to drive muscle activation.

  7. Therapy retrains client's sensory perceptions about her own voice.

  8. Beginning with the first session, the focus is on transfer to conversational speech



If you are considering LSVT:

  1. Get checked by your neurologist to make sure that you are healthy enough for this intensive speech therapy program.

  2. You will also need an ENT evaluation.

  3. If you are newly diagnosed with Parkisnon Disease, get LSVT sooner rather than later to keep your voice alive.

Helpful website:

Still have questions? Give us a call at 415.672.3653


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