What is it about?

The majority of individuals with Parkinson disease (PD) have speech and voice disorders. LSVT®LOUD (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) is an evidence-based treatment that currently is being delivered in 60 countries to help individuals with PD improve their ability to communicate. However, access to this treatment may be challenging for individuals who have mobility constraints or who do not have contact with clinicians who are trained in this method. This study evaluated an interactive, customized software-based program, the LSVTCompanion® to deliver LSVT LOUD as an independent “at-home” clinician for a portion of the treatment sessions. Results supported the use of this system in treating speech and voice disorders in PD. See Resources Video LSVTCompanion Client Edition Demonstration.

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Why is it important?

This study provided the first evidence that individuals with PD who used the LSVTCompanion had treatment gains comparable to individuals who received the standard in-person LSVT LOUD. Furthermore, these individuals were able to use the LSVTCompanion independently at home and reported that it was very helpful. Outcomes on sound pressure level (reflecting vocal loudness) and listener and significant other ratings supported a positive post-treatment impact on speech and voice.

Perspectives

This study was a creative collaboration among speech clinicians, speech scientists, computer programmers, and engineers. It was funded jointly by the National Institutes of Health-National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIH-NIDCD) and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The outcomes are exciting in terms of the potential impact on increasing accessibility to efficacious speech treatment for PD. In addition, the LSVTCompanion brings valid and reliable research quality measures of speech and voice into ‘the real clinical world’. The LSVTCompanion is being used in both assessment and treatment today by clinicians trained and certified in LSVT LOUD and by their patients for "at-home"' practice. This article won the 2012 Journal Editors’ Award for the Article of Highest Merit, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. To learn more about the LSVTCompanion see Resources URL LSVTCompanion. Note: The current product names for the treatment and software program referenced in the article are LSVT LOUD® and LSVT Companion® respectively.

Lorraine Ramig
University of Colorado

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This page is a summary of: Innovative Technology for the Assisted Delivery of Intensive Voice Treatment (LSVT ® LOUD) for Parkinson Disease, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2012, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), DOI: 10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0125).
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