Speech therapy programmes are available to use at different stages of Parkinson’s. In the disease’s early stages, patients learn strategies and exercises to help with voice volume, speed of speech, breathing, facial expressions and clear pronunciation of words. Therapists can give some tips on speaking in noisy environments as well as problems associated with eating and drinking.
As the disease progresses and communication becomes difficult, therapists can offer advice on ways to cope with it. Some examples include the use of assistive devices like computers or voice amplifiers, making eye contact while speaking.
The speech therapist may also use the Lee Silverman Voice Technique (LSVT). It is a speech treatment that has been proven to significantly improve speech after one month. Results can last up to two years following treatment. The LSVT method is easy to learn and must be repeated four days a week for four consecutive weeks to be effective. After a four-week treatment period, LSVT exercises should be done daily to maintain the improvements achieved.
Choose an environment with reduced noise. It can be quite tiring to try to talk over the television or radio.
1. Speak slowly.
2. Be certain your listener can see your face. Look at the person while you are talking.
3. Use short phrases, say one or two words or syllables per breath.
4. Over-articulate your speech by prolonging the vowels and exaggerating the consonants.
5. Choose a comfortable posture and position that provide support during long and stressful conversations.
6. Plan periods of vocal rest before planned conversations or phone calls.
7. If you are soft spoken and your voice has become low, consider using an amplifier.
8. If you are on a respirator (with fully inflated cuffs), an electro larynx or respiratory tube that provides an alternative air source might be used.