Did you know that our voice is one of the most distinctive features of us? Listen to someone speaking in another room, down the supermarket aisle or on the radio, and I bet you can make some fairly accurate conclusions about them. Voices often give away our gender, age, health and emotional state. We know if someone is tired and can pick if they are unwell or if they are energetic and positive. We can distinguish a young person from an older adult, not just by the words they use and the way they express themselves, but by their voice.
As we age or as circumstances shape life, our voices and speech change. There may be a noticeable change in our voice quality or breathing patterns that support speech. Our speech may become less clear as we see changes in our muscle tone and hearing.
One major catalyst for changing communication patterns is the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. If you or someone you know is battling a similar condition, you've probably encountered difficulties in their speech or voice.
You are not alone.
Help is at hand with LSVT
One evidence-based approach that has been incredibly successful in managing these challenges is the Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT).
LSVT, primarily known as LSVT LOUD, is an evidence-based speech therapy method initially designed for people with Parkinson's disease. The therapy method targets speech and voice disorders, enhancing vocal loudness to address common problems such as soft voice, monotone speech, mumbled speech, and hoarse voice.
Although it was initially developed for Parkinson's, research and clinical experience have shown its applicability to other neurological conditions. These conditions include stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, where similar speech and voice issues may arise.
The underlying principles of LSVT - increasing vocal loudness, continuous voice use, high effort, and calibration - are applicable to a range of neurological conditions. These conditions often result in similar speech impairments as seen in Parkinson's disease, making LSVT an adaptable and versatile therapeutic approach.
For instance, stroke survivors may experience dysarthria, characterised by weak, slow, or uncoordinated speech. In such scenarios, LSVT LOUD can help improve vocal loudness and articulation. Similarly, in conditions like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, where speech clarity may be compromised, LSVT can contribute to clearer and more effective communication.
How we can help
At Newcastle Speech Pathology, we recognise the expansive potential of LSVT. Our team of certified LSVT clinicians cater to not only our clients with Parkinson's but also extend their expertise to individuals with other neurological conditions.
We provide a supportive and nurturing environment for therapy. We understand that LSVT, as an intensive process, demands a lot from clients. Our team's compassionate approach helps keep our clients motivated and committed, maximising the effectiveness of the therapy.
LSVT is more than just a therapeutic approach for Parkinson's disease. It's a versatile tool applicable to a range of neurological conditions, empowering clients to regain control of their speech and improve their communication skills. Our personalised approach can significantly improve our clients' quality of life.
At Newcastle Speech Pathology, we are steadfast in our commitment to transforming lives through LSVT. We see this approach as more than just a therapy—it's an empowerment tool that enables individuals to regain control over their communication, enhancing their speech and overall quality of life. Our personalised approach allows us to cater to each client's unique needs, supporting them through their journey of overcoming speech challenges associated with a range of neurological conditions. With our certified LSVT clinicians, you are never alone in your battle for clearer, louder, and more effective communication.