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Speech Problems

Some 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s experience changes in their speech. They tend to speak softly, even though to them it feels as if they are speaking at a normal volume. Additionally, people with Parkinson’s often speak in a monotone, and their voices can get hoarse. As the disease progresses, they may articulate words less precisely or develop a tremor in the voice.

Taken together, these changes can cause people with Parkinson’s to lose confidence in their voices, to feel as if others don’t listen to them, and to withdraw from conversations.

 A form of speech therapy specifically for people with Parkinson’s has been developed from over 20 years of research, and is the only speech therapy that has been proven effective in clinical trials. Known as the Lee Silverman Voice Technique (LSVT), it is an intensive program of exercising the voice. The focus is on “thinking loud” in order to do all the things needed to speak forcefully—take a deep breath, articulate, and move the lips and jaw.  To learn more, or to find a qualified clinician, go to www.lsvt.org.

 

Related Resources from the PD Resource List

Speech Therapy in PD
Category: Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy
Resource Type: Publications
Publication Date: 2010
Author: Lorraine Ramig, Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Cynthia Fox, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Publisher: Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Cost: Free
Toll Free: (800) 457-6676
Email: info@pdf.org
Associated URL: www.pdf.org/en/factsheets
Address: 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509
City: New York Zip: 10018
Language: English
State: New York
This fact sheet offers in-depth information and practical tips on speech therapy in PD. Also offered in Spanish.

Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®)
Category: Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy
Resource Type: Websites
Toll Free: (888) 438-5788
Email: info@lsvtglobal.com
Associated URL: www.lsvtglobal.com
Language: English
This organization developed and now trains speech-language therapists in the "LSVT Loud" method, and physical or occupational therapists in the "LSVT Big" method for PD. This non-pharmacological and non-surgical intervention may improve oral and other communications in individuals with PD. The toll-free number and website offer a state-by-state listing of therapists who are trained in these methods.

View all Resources Related to Speech Problems and Parkinson's