I was shocked when I replayed my voice mail message. My soft Parkinson’s voice had returned. I made a lot of progress with 20 Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® (LSVT®) sessions in just over a month (16 standard and 4 additional sessions because of DBS). However, I found it was difficult to maintain the improvement, and my sometimes quiet (sometimes slurred, sometimes hoarse, sometimes garbled, sometimes hesitant) Parkinson’s voice has come back to haunt me.
Just when I was feeling discouraged, Mary Spremulli contacted me. Mary is a speech therapist/pathologist who works with Parkinson’s patients in SW Florida. She developed a DVD called Voice Aerobics™ initially designed for post-LSVT® patients to help them maintain their progress. Voice Aerobics™ began in 1999 as a 50 minute exercise class. It combines techniques from voice therapy and exercise physiology. Mary originally created this class as a post-speech/voice therapy program for her Parkinson’s patients, but discovered that her class participants were from a variety of backgrounds.
Anyone who feels they have lost some power or range in their voice could benefit from the Voice Aerobics™ DVD that Mary developed. It is based on a typical class and combines voice function exercises and a general physical work-out.
With nearly 90% of people with Parkinson’s developing a voice, speech or swallowing problem, it is great that there is a voice exercise program that we can do on our own, in the comfort of our own homes.
I’m excited about the possibility of improving (and maintaining) my voice by using the DVD three times per week without even leaving home. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
For those with voice changes from Parkinson’s, I initially recommend Lee Silverman Voice Treatment® (LSVT®) at http://www.lsvt.org/ which is grounded in evidenced-based research, and can be a very effective program for addressing speech, voice, and swallowing problems in individuals with neurological diseases. Following completion of the LSVT® or any program, however, it is necessary to continue to do the exercises on your own to retain the benefits. This is where Voice Aerobics™ may be helpful.