What you need to know about Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is caused by the deterioration of neurons in the brain that produce dopamine, an essential neurotransmitter the controls muscle functions. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological disease in Australia after dementia, affecting around 100,000 people. Today, 32 Australians will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and 1 in 5 of those people will be aged under 50.
Parkinson’s Disease has a huge impact not only on the movement but also the muscles in the face, mouth and throat that are required to speak. Weakness in these muscles may cause a person’s voice to change and a person may have difficulty swallowing food and drinks.
People with Parkinson’s Disease may experience:
- A quiet voice that is hard to hear, or mumbling (reduced volume)
- A hoarse voice or a very breathy voice
- A tremor in their voice
- A voice which has little expression ie – a monotone quality to their voice
Click on this link to watch a glimpse of what is it like for those living with Parkinson’s Disease
The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD)
LSVT LOUD was designed and developed specifically for people who are living with Parkinson’s Disease to improve voice and speech. LSVT LOUD targets improving the LOUDNESS of your voice, which often leads to other improvements too -including the co-ordination of speech, vocal fold closure and also swallowing skills. LSVT LOUD has extensive research behind it, which means the program is supported by universities and medical teams all over the world.
How is LSVT delivered?
LSVT consists of 16 face to face sessions with a speech pathologist, with 2-4 sessions a week, over 4-8 weeks. The program incorporates the completion of DAILY homework. Following the program, you can maintain your skills by attending groups run monthly – quarterly.
Voice therapy improves someone living with Parkinson’s Disease quality of life
Voice disorders can have an enormous impact of people living with Parkinson’s Disease and their families. People may be forced to give up their daily activities and often their career. This can then lead to people becoming isolated and depressed.
If you are someone with Parkinson’s Disease or know someone with Parkinson’s Disease who has voice difficulties please contact Southern Highlands Speech Pathology on (02) 4862 5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a voice assessment today so we can help you improve your voice quality.