An estimated 90 percent of those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease suffer from a diminished sense of how audible their voices are. It leads to problems being heard on the telephone, at the grocery store and in conversations with loved ones.
But a special vocal therapy program developed by CU-Boulder professor Lorraine Ramig of speech, language and hearing science is proving effective. Called the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, it involves an hour a day in treatment sessions plus homework.
The goal is to get patients to become comfortable using their perceived “loud” voice and to cue them to know it is the right voice, despite their initial misperceptions that they are shouting.
“As a faculty member, it’s wonderful, thrilling and all of that to do the science, but what’s also exciting is seeing the application of discovery in real patients,” Ramig says.