What is it about?

Speech treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) was previously unsuccessful. An approach, called LSVT LOUD, was developed in the late 1980s. At that time, LSVT LOUD was substantially different from traditional speech treatment in several ways. This article reviewed the novel concepts of this approach. These included a single focus on vocal loudness, intensive delivery, sensory retraining, and a simple and redundant treatment cue, "speak loud".

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Why is it important?

This article summarized, for the first time, novel and key concepts for why and how speech treatment could work and last for people with PD. At the time LSVT LOUD was developed, the outlook for improving speech in people with PD was very grim. One quote stated, “…voice treatment for disorders that are degenerative is controversial since there is no expectation for recovery of function or that any improvement secondary to speech language pathology intervention will be maintained in the long term” (Hillman et al., 1990; p. 308). LSVT LOUD proved this quote wrong. Research documented improved communication in people with PD and lasting improvements over time - out to 2 years (see LSVT two years article in resources). This has changed the perception of speech treatment for people with PD.


The concepts discussed in this article are now well accepted as key aspects of successful speech treatment for people with PD. It has been rewarding to see that our observations nearly 20 years ago are still true today. Speech treatment must target the underlying cause of a softer voice (hypokinesia). Treatment must be delivered in an intensive and high effort manner. The fact that patients think they are loud when they are not must be addressed. Finally, treatment that is simple in focus for people with PD (e.g., “Speak Louder”) may accommodate cognitive changes, such as slower processing and memory deficits. Our perspectives on key elements for successful speech treatment in people with PD continue to evolve with ongoing research - both from our research laboratory and others around the world.

Dr Cynthia Marie Fox
LSVT Global, Inc.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Current Perspectives on the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) for Individuals With Idiopathic Parkinson Disease, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2002, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/1058-0360(2002/012).
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