Raising Your Voice

Did you know speech therapy is an important resource in managing Parkinson’s disease? Working alongside a speech language pathologist can help people living with Parkinson’s disease improve their speech, communication and swallowing abilities. At Penn Therapy & Fitness, speech language pathologists are a part of our multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team.  Meredith Pauly, MA, CCC-SLP, shares how speech and swallowing focused treatments can make an impact on the quality of life of those living with Parkinson’s disease.

Breathe

The speech language pathologists at Penn Therapy & Fitness can evaluate swallowing abilities, then provide therapeutic intervention to improve function. Respiratory muscle training is one of the strategies used to help improve swallowing safety and the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease. The muscles targeted during this training contribute to airway protection during swallowing; additionally, they are also involved in speech and voice production.

Think LOUD

LSVT LOUD® (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment), is an effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson's disease and other neurological conditions. The treatment has been a staple of voice therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease since first published in the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research in 1995. LSVT LOUD®​​​​​​​ trains people with Parkinson’s disease to use their voice at a more normal loudness level while speaking at home, work or in the community.

Research published in the November 2018 Movement Disorders Journal showed that LSVT LOUD®​​​​​​​ participants benefited from maintained communication effectiveness seven months’ post treatment, compared to those who completed a program that only focused on enunciation.

Sing

While singing is not an official therapeutic program, it is an activity that anyone can participate in anywhere and at any time. There is emerging evidence that has shown singing can improve the quality of life and potentially improve the swallowing function for people living with Parkinson’s disease. They found singing to be fun, motivating, improved quality of life and showed potential for improved swallowing function. In addition to improving respiratory control and swallowing, singing can also help to reduce stress and enhance quality of life through mood improvement.

Locally, people living with Parkinson’s disease can take part in group singing through the Parkinsingers Choir. Founded in 2015, the Parkinsingers Choir brings together people with Parkinson’s disease, care providers and friends in a community who are dedicated to making music to serve the entire Delaware Valley as an example of how participating in a choir can enable people to live well with Parkinson's disease. The Parkinsingers Choir provides annual concerts and outreach performances throughout the year. Click here to learn more about the Parkinsingers Choir and how to get involved in their outreach.

Whatever part of the journey you or your loved one is at with Parkinson’s disease, our speech language pathologists can to help achieve the highest level of functional independence and cope with the changes that affect quality of life. To learn more about our program and services, click here to visit our website.

About the Therapist:

Meredith Pauly, MA, CCC-SLP, received her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Temple University in 2003. She is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and has maintained the ASHA certificate of clinical competency since 2004. She is an advanced clinician specializing in speech, voice and swallowing rehabilitation for people with movement disorders and head and neck cancer including voice rehabilitation after total laryngectomy. She is a certified LSVT LOUD® and VitalStim provider.