What Emergency Type Devices Should A Person With Parkinsons Disease With Speech And Voice Problems Have At Hand
To preparing for emergencies:
- Use an intercom system or baby monitor to alert others that there is an emergency.
- Use bells or buzzers if you are not able to speak. Use “codes” that signify urgency. For example, a tinkling bell might mean, “I’d like company,” while an air horn might mean there’s an emergency.
- Carry a cell phone that is equipped with pre-programmed numbers. Preprogram all of your telephones so they can automatically dial the necessary emergency number.
- Sign up for a “Life Call” button service if you spend time alone. Pressing a button on a device usually worn on the wrist or around neck signals a service company that alerts loved ones and/or your local emergency service.
What Alternative Communication Devices And Tips Can Help With My Voice And Speech Problems
If you have difficulty speaking, are frustrated and stressed by your inability to communicate or tire from the efforts to speak, consider the following devices and methods to be better understood:
- Amplification: This could be a portable personal amplifier or a telephone amplifier that can be used to increase vocal loudness in soft-spoken people. The amplifier also decreases voice fatigue.
- TTY telephone relay system: This is a telephone equipped with a keyboard so speech can be typed and read by a relay operator to the listener. Either the whole message can be typed or just the words that are not understood.
- Low-technology devices: Paper-based books and boards, alphabet boards and typing devices are examples of low technology assistive methods.
- High-technology electronic speech enhancers, communication devices: Computers with voice synthesizers and speech generating devices are available. Talk to a speech-language pathologist about the available high technology devices best suitable for your needs.
Tips For Coping With Speech Difficulties
- Exercise your voice by reading out loud or singing every day.
- Drink enough water, avoiding shouting and rest your voice when it is tired.
- Train your voice like an actorsit and stand with good posture, do exercises for articulation, breathing and projecting the voice.
- Get feedback from friends and family members about how others perceive your speech develop a cue or code word you can use in public to make you focus on speaking clearly.
- If you have soft speech, use tools such as a voice amplifier , placed on your shirt, and on the telephone . Ask an occupational therapist about other tools.
- Make eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking.
- Reduce background noise.
- Socialize in small groups or one-on-one.
- If you experience a facial masking, use feeling words to communicate your emotions . Use practice physical gestures to help convey emotions.
- Determine which times of day your speech is best. Plan social engagements around those times.
Even in the early stages of PD, many report that their voices are too soft, causing others to ask them to repeat themselves. Other people with PD may have a gruff or hoarse quality to their voice. Try these strategies:
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Florida, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence.
For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episodeImportance of Early Detection of Swallowing Disturbances or download our Speech and Swallowing book.
Don’t Miss: Does Michael Bolton Have Parkinson’s
Neurochemical Effects Of Ras
On top of neural network reorganization, studies have highlighted the neurochemical effects of RAS . Music listening not only activates emotional networks but also stimulates dopamine production in the striatal system . Emotions and physical movements are closely intertwined , hence there are suggestions that motor improvements following music intervention may be a result of emotional reactions mediating the dopaminergic activity of the BG motor loop .
A recent PET study by Koshimori et al. explored RAS-induced dopamine responses in the BG of healthy participants while they performed finger-tapping tasks. They reported that RAS significantly decreased the binding potential relative to the non-displaceable compartment variability in the BG. Consequently, this led to a significant decrease in DA response in the left ventral striatum , an area that plays a role in motivation and reward processing . The authors further explained that this decreased in DA response with RAS was associated with lesser motivational and attentional requirements while attending to the task, which could be beneficial in dopamine-deficient patients. This study, therefore, provided insights about the potential role of RAS to modulate dopamine responses in PD and warrant future studies with PD patients.
Studying Music As The Prescription
The University of Pennsylvania’s Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorders Center periodically hosts a retreat for its patients, an escape from the humdrum of treatment. At a retreat in 2013, the center invited a group of West African drummers to lead a 45-minute class. The patients gathered in a circle. Each straddled a traditional goblet-shaped djembe drum and followed the lead of the instructor, who set the rhythm. Johns Hopkins neurologist Alex Pantelyat, then a fellow at the center, says the group made quite a racket, but what stood out was the patients’ reactions after the class. Unsolicited, they all reported a reduction in their symptoms. They walked more easily. Tremors seemed to subside. They were in better moods. “I thought, we can’t ignore this response,” says Pantelyat, who is now director of the Johns Hopkins Atypical Parkinsonism Center. He helped design a pilot study that involved twice-weekly drumming classes for 10 Parkinson’s patients over a six-week period. The results, published last year in the journal Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, showed that the classes improved the quality of life for the participants.
Pantelyat strongly believes that music has the power to heal more than Parkinson’s patients. The Johns Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine, which he co-directs, hopes to accelerate research in this nascent field.
Also Check: Parkinson’s Loss Of Appetite
Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound To Help Deliver Therapies
While high intensity FUS is a treatment for PD as described above, low intensity FUS can be used in an entirely different way to help treat PD. This type of FUS may allow for disruption of the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier refers to the cells that line the blood vessels within the brain which keep foreign substances, such as toxins and microbes, in the bloodstream and out of the brain.
Normally, this mechanism is advantageous and protects the brain. However, the blood brain barrier may also keep out molecules that could help to treat brain diseases. Therefore, disrupting the blood brain barrier could allow for penetration of these molecules into particular areas of the brain. A whole variety of different molecules such as antibodies, nerve growth factors and gene therapy may be able to take advantage of this approach. Further research is necessary to determine if this will be a useful method for drug delivery into the brain.
How Do I Know If I Have A Speech Or Voice Problem
- My voice makes it difficult for people to hear me.
- People have difficulty understanding me in a noisy room.
- My voice issues limit my personal and social life.
- I feel left out of conversations because of my voice.
- My voice problem causes me to lose income.
- I have to strain to produce voice.
- My voice clarity is unpredictable.
- My voice problem upsets me.
- My voice makes me feel handicapped.
- People ask, “What’s wrong with your voice?”
Recommended Reading: Mri Brain Scan For Parkinson’s Disease
Sensory Flicker As A Treatment
Dr. Singer and her colleagues in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University are developing a novel approach to treating the disease that involves light and sound pulsing at 40 Hz.
The idea is that the flickering sensory stimuli will entrain nerves deep within the brain to fire at the same frequency, which may, over time, restore their lost connectivity.
In murine models of Alzheimers, the researchers found that sensory entrainment at gamma frequencies leads to immune changes that clear beta-amyloid, a toxic protein associated with the disease.
However, the effects of this type of sensory flicker on the brains of people with Alzheimers are unknown.
The question also remained whether humans would tolerate the treatment and stick with the necessary daily regimen of sensory stimulation.
To test its safety and tolerability, Dr. Singers lab enrolled 10 participants with MCI associated with early Alzheimers.
They selected people with mild disease to ensure that they would be able to describe how well they tolerated the treatment.
The researchers randomly assigned the volunteers to either 8 weeks of 1 hour of flicker treatment per day or 4 weeks without treatment followed by 4 weeks of treatment.
Good Vibrations: Using Sound To Treat Disease
Many of us love massages, but imagine a massage so deep that tissues, organs and cells could also be massaged.
Thats exactly what Vibroacoustic Therapy, a low frequency sound massage, is clinically proven to do, and new research at U of T suggests that it may help people with debilitating diseases.
It is basically stimulating the body with very low sound like sitting on a subwoofer, said Professor Lee Bartel of the Faculty of Music. But it requires special speakers that carry sound almost too low to hear in a way that changes it basically to something you feel instead of hear.
Bartel and his team in the new Music and Health Research Collaboratory are exploring the medical effects of low frequency sound and have shown that this therapy can play a key role in reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Vibroacoustic therapy consists of low sound frequencies that are transmitted to the body and mind through special transducers that convert the sound to inner body massage. MaHRC associates Heidi Ahonen and Quincy Almeida treated two groups of Parkinsons patients with five minutes of 30 Hz vibration.
Both groups showed improvements in all symptoms, including less rigidity and better walking speed with bigger steps and less tremor.
Bartels team is now looking at the role of vibroacoustic therapy as a treatment for patients with fibromyalgia.
You May Like: What Kind Of Pain Is Associated With Parkinson’s
Clinical Trials For Complementary Therapies In Pd
Just like they do for medications, clinical trials are also done for complementary therapies. Trials that test complementary therapies in PD can be conducted in a variety of ways, some more rigorous than others. Typically, patients are assessed for different outcome measures depending on the treatment. For example, a study of massage investigated the change in pain level as an outcome measure, whereas studies of acupuncture looked at changes in sleep and depression as outcome measures. The different types of treatments have not been compared to each other, so there is little way of knowing if one edges out the others in terms of effectiveness on any given measure.
In general, however, these modalities are low-risk and typically demonstrate improvement in either a motor or a non-motor symptom. Additional research with larger and more rigorous trials is needed, but it is exciting to realize that there are many possible therapeutic avenues to explore. It is also important to note that complementary therapies are typically not covered by insurance, so they may be out of financial reach for many people with PD. Increased research demonstrating the efficacy of these modalities is the first step in convincing insurance providers that these services are worth covering.
Tips and Takeaways
Mental Outlook Makes A Difference
According to Atwood you can always learn to live better with Parkinsons, since how you live with your illness comes from your mental outlook. You can do something about your mental outlook. Dont think that you are a burden.2
When a chronic illness happens, it affects the whole family, and each family member has to cope with the illness in some way. Dont devalue yourself it is a biological happening and not something to be ashamed of. Parkinsons, like ageing, is something that happens to you, not something you do.
Don’t Miss: Cannabis Treatment For Parkinson’s
The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment
The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment is the first speech treatment for PD proven to significantly improve speech after one month of treatment.
- Exercises taught in the LSVT method are easy to learn and typically have an immediate impact on communication.
- Improvements have been shown to last up to two years following treatment.
- LSVT methods have also been used with some success in treating speech and voice problems in individuals with atypical PD syndromes such as multiple-system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy .
- Must be administered four days a week for four consecutive weeks.
- On therapy days, perform LSVT exercises one other time during the day. On non-therapy days, perform LSVT exercises two times a day.
- Once you complete the four-week LSVT therapy, perform LSVT exercises daily to maintain your improved voice.
- Schedule six-month LSVT re-evaluations with your specialist to monitor your voice.
- If available in your area, participate in a speech group whose focus is on thinking loud.
- A Digital Sound Level Meter can help you monitor voice volume. Place the meter at arm distance to perform the measurement. Normal conversational volume ranges between 68-74dB.
Vibroacoustic Therapy For Parkinsons Fibromyalgia Alzheimers And Depression
At its core, music is sound, and sound is rooted in vibration. Led by Lee Bartel, PhD, a music professor at the University of Toronto, several researchers are exploring whether sound vibrations absorbed through the body can help ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia and depression. Known as vibroacoustic therapy, the intervention involves using low frequency sound similar to a low rumble to produce vibrations that are applied directly to the body. During vibroacoustic therapy, the patient lies on a mat or bed or sits in a chair embedded with speakers that transmit vibrations at specific computer-generated frequencies that can be heard and felt, says Bartel. He likens the process to sitting on a subwoofer.
The group is also examining something called thalmocortical dysrhythmia a disorientation of rhythmic brain activity involving the thalamus and the outer cortex that appears to play a role in several medical conditions including Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease, says Bartel, who directs the collaboratory.
“Since the rhythmic pulses of music can drive and stabilize this disorientation, we believe that low-frequency sound might help with these conditions,” Bartel says. He is leading a study using vibroacoustic therapy with patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. The hope is that using the therapy to restore normal communication among brain regions may allow for greater memory retrieval, he says.
Recommended Reading: Parkinson’s And High Blood Pressure
Work With A Online Speech Therapist Today
The Parkinsons speech therapy exercises outlined above are a great place to start if you feel that your speech skills are starting to decline. But, youll see the greatest benefits if you also work with a specialized speech therapist.
When working with Great Speech, our team of therapists will help you make sure youre doing the exercises correctly. Theyll also be able to prescribe specific exercises that are better tailored to your particular needs to continue seeing results between sessions.
Great Speechs team of online speech pathologists provide speech therapy services for a wide range of people, including those related to Parkinsons disease.
Parkinsons Speech Therapy Exercises
The following speech therapy exercises are specifically designed to help people who suffer from Parkinsons disease.
This exercise might seem simple, but deep breathing is essential for keeping your lungs and diaphragm healthy and strong. This, in turn, helps you maintain your ability to project your voice.
Deep breathing is a great warm-up to get your ready for other, more advanced exercises.
To do this exercise, simply start by sitting or standing up straight. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Breathe in until you feel your ribs and abdomen start to expand.
When youve inhaled as much as you can, exhale slowly through your mouth .
Take several deep, full breaths before moving on to the next exercise.
This is a great exercise that will help you maintain your pronunciation and projection abilities.
Start by taking a deep breath in. Then, push out from your diaphragm while making an ah sound. Try to extend this sound for at least 15 seconds.
Take another deep breath and push out from your diaphragm while repeating an oh sound for 15 seconds. Do this again with both oo and ee sounds.
When youve done the exercise with each sound, youre ready to move on and practice changing your pitch. Do this by alternating between the oh and ee sounds for 30 seconds.
Sirening is another good exercise for improving your pronunciation and pitch control.
Also Check: Any New Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
Here Are Some Tips On How To Maintain And Enhance Communication
Choose an environment with reduced noise. It can be quite tiring to try to talk over the television or radio.
If you see a speech therapist early on and often, not only can you delay the onset of particular symptoms, but you can build muscle memory that will help you keep some symptoms at bay as your Parkinsons progresses.
Patient Story: Focused Ultrasound And Parkinsons Disease
It all started with a tiny tingle and I worried it was a sign of something bigger.
I was at a chili taste-testing contest when I reached to pick up a glass of hot apple cider and my baby finger tingled.
In that moment, I was concerned it was Parkinsons disease.
I had a feeling because my dad had had Parkinsons.
Over time I began noticing changes. My hand and arms started to tremor and my handwriting got progressively worse.
When my neurologist first gave me my diagnosis, I didnt want to believe it was Parkinsons. I wanted to fight it and beat it.
I still do.
Right now, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease. Its a progressive disease and its symptoms such as stiffness and tremor worsen over time. Each person with Parkinsons disease, experiences it differently.
For me, living with Parkinsons is a challenge. My main symptom is dyskinesia, which can include fidgeting or body swaying. My body isnt always doing exactly what I want it to do. Each day is different and depends on how my body is reacting to the medication that Im taking to help ease my symptoms.
I ended up retiring early from my job as a private school secretary. Day-to-day tasks take a bit longer to do, but I want to do things myself and I just take breaks when I need to.
The first participant of a world-first clinical trial
While some parts of my life are different, what hasnt changed for me is how determined I am to help in the search for a treatment or cure for Parkinsons disease.
Also Check: The Science Of Parkinson’s