Parkinson’s Disease and the Lee Silverman Voice Training® Program

Diana Chamblin-Bevirt, speech and audiology supervisor, explains how Parkinson’s Disease can affect communicating and how the Lee Silverman Voice Training program can help.

How can Parkinson’s disease affect communicating?

With Parkinson’s disease, patients often have communication problems in terms of a very weak voice. When they talk, their voice is so weak and the volume is so low it makes it difficult for people to hear them. They also may have swallowing disorders as well, so we do an evaluation for both of those areas.

Talk about the Lee Silverman Voice Training® (LSVT) program.

One of our specialty treatment programs is the Lee Silverman Voice Training program. It’s high-intensity vocal strengthening for speech loudness to make patients more intelligible. It’s a program that has over 30 years of research to back it. The program is provided by certified licensed clinicians and consists of 16 one-hour sessions, four times a week for four weeks. They also do vocal strengthening exercises on a daily basis at home during that treatment time. The research shows that patients who complete the program have an average of two years of maintaining the gains and the benefits that they achieved from therapy after therapy is completed.