Recently, I had a doctor ask me about using a voice amplifier instead of SpeechVive.
Here's my response:
I rarely recommend voice amplifiers in my practice. A lot of SLPs use the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” when referring to them.
Due to the speech qualities associated with PD: slurred speech, rate changes, and sometimes stuttering—it can be difficult to understand someone via amplifier. The amplifier does a great job increasing volume, not speech or voice quality. Also, the amplifiers can seem obtrusive looking to many clients. Frequently, the result is a louder, poorly understood voice or an amplifier that sits on the shelf gathering dust.
The MAIN reason I don’t typically recommend them—it does NOTHING to address the underlying physiology and speech-breathing patterns that are disordered and reduced for people with Parkinson's disease.
Research shows that people with Parkinson's benefit from exercise. SpeechVive's automatic cue to speak louder turns every speech utterance into "speech exercise."
I've been a Speech Pathologist for over 12 years. With SpechVive, I'm able to provide an immediate increase in speech volume and I know that it's helping outside my office.
I know that I'm being effective by helping people with Parkinson's communicate again.
Interested in trying SpeechVive?
What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
All speech-language pathologists are trained to evaluate and treat speech, voice, language, cognitive and swallowing disorders that occur as part of the Parkinson's Disease process. However, some SLPs have completed additional certifications specifically for Parkinson's-specific treatment programs.
When Should I See a Speech-Language Pathologist?
You may also notice that you have a harder time thinking. Multi-tasking, remembering, and solving simple problems can be more difficult. You may feel like you're in a "brain fog" more than usual. This can lead to concerns about safety in the workplace and at home.
Another symptom that can occur is more difficulty with eating and swallowing. You or your loved ones may notice that you cough/choke more often while eating. You may start avoiding certain foods that are "hard" to eat.
All these symptoms can be addressed by a speech-language pathologist.
If you experience changes in your speech, thinking, and/or swallowing, ask your doctor to refer you to a speech-language pathologist.
What Should I Expect from a Speech Therapy Visit?
By now, you're probably used to the normal "drill" when you visit a new specialist. Your SLP will gather a complete case history from you. Questions will center around your experiences with communication, thinking, and eating/swallowing. Be sure to bring in a current medication list and discuss any symptoms you're currently experiencing--even if you don't think they're related.
During your evaluation, your speech-language pathologist will administer evaluations to measure speech and voice quality, your thinking skills, and your eating and swallowing safety.
The evaluation will take about 2 hours to complete. After it's complete, your SLP will discuss their finding with you and collaborate with you to create a treatment plan that takes your priorities and goals into consideration.
For More Information About Specific Speech Therapy Programs for Parkinson's Disease, Check Out Our Free E-Book
Then, there's your favorite loved one. The family member you've been looking forward to spending time with most of all. However, this year, you've noticed that Parkinson's Disease has affected their speech, making them much harder to understand.
Here are some hints that can help make it easier for you to understand your loved one in this situation.
5 simple strategies to improve communication when someone is hard to understand
Make Eye Contact
If possible utilize FaceTime, Skype, or similar technologies that allow you to incorporate visual information into your call. This can really help make your phone conversation more engaging and increase overall understanding.
Listening to your loved one with speech changes due to Parkinson's Disease will require more mental effort. Give them your full attention for the best outcome.
Know the Topic of the Conversation, If Possible
Encourage Hand Gestures
Encourage your loved one to incorporate gestures as much as possible into the conversation.
Avoid Walking and Chewing Gum
There are effective, research-based speech programs available for people with Parkinson's
SpeechVive is proud to partner with VA Medical Centers to provide the latest speech technology to the brave men and women who have served our country and are now dealing with the speech/voice changes associated with Parkinson's Disease.
The SpeechVive device is designed to provide immediate improvement in speech volume and clarity for the 90% of people with Parkinson's that experience voice changes.
Speech-language pathologists at Veteran's Administration Medical Centers are provided training, clinical tools, and ongoing support free of charge by SpeechVive to better serve our Veterans.
Click here to find out which VA Medical Centers currently have SpeechVive.
The Veterans Administration is dedicated to providing clinical excellence for veterans with Parkinson's Disease. They have a wide range of supports available through their Parkinson's Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs). Even if you do not live near a PADRECC, your local medical team can consult with these groups to provide you the most current, evidence-based treatments available. Find out more at parkinsons.va.gov
This is the title of the poster Dr. Jessica Huber will present at the World Parkinson's Congress this month in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Huber's poster was chosen as a "leading abstract" for the conference and she has the honor of being featured on Poster Tour 7, Wednesday 9/21 starting at 5:15pm PDT.
Dr. Huber will take the opportunity to discuss her invention, SpeechVive, and the communication improvements that have resulted from its use for people with Parkinson's disease. Jessica will be on hand to answer any questions and discuss her research and clinical experiences with the SpeechVive.
Visit SpeechVive at booth #716 during the conference for additional information and signup to try out the device while you're here. If you'd like to schedule a free trial, sign up here.
SpeechVive and Dr. Huber are honored to be a part of the World Parkinson's Congress, 2016.
Well, you might not think they have very much in common. However, at SpeechVive SLPs and software engineers are working hand-in-hand to update the current calibration software used for the SpeechVive device. The goal of this update is 2-pronged:
1.) Provide a user-friendly calibration "wizard" for SLPs in the clinic
2.) Initiate work on our NIH-funded research to create a tele-health platform for SLPs to calibrate the SpeechVive and treat clients remotely.
Check out this great interview with Dr. Jessica Huber, the inventor of SpeechVive, as she explains more about the vision our team has for the future.
So, what do SLPs and Software developers have in common?
SLPs and Software Engineers have more in common than you might think!
SpeechVive will be at the World Parkinson's Congress September 20-23 in Portland, Oregon.
This event, coordinated by the World Parkinson's Coalition, is held every 3 years in an effort to create an international forum to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, medical practices, caregiver initiatives and advocacy work related to Parkinson's disease.
We are thrilled to be a part of this great event. Come by our booth #716 and say "hi!"
As the inaugural post, I thought it fitting to give a little insight into what is going on behind the scenes at SpeechVive.
Currently, the team is working with a skilled group of software developers to completely overhaul our calibration software. This will change the whole experience clinicians have while setting up SpeechVive--for the better! Be on the lookout for updates on this exciting change. In the meantime, our version 1 software still works and is effective for calibrating devices. Calibrate on!
Dr. Huber has submitted new research for publication regarding SpeechVive. This new study gives more insight in the effectiveness of SpeechVive as a tool for people with hypokinetic dysarthria and specifically outlines a treatment protocol. We're looking forward to this paper's approval and publication.
From an engineering standpoint, we have a great team working on manufacturing and production with an Indiana-based company. Our product is made in the USA with oversight from our engineers.
Our clinical manager is happily fielding questions from customers and providing trainings to clinicians. In an effort to be available, more training is provided online. This means less time in the air with her phone/email off and more time available to you.
Our entire team remains committed to providing a quality product and experience. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, anytime.
image credit: Ron Mader http://ow.ly/7rez301gIxh