Continuing with SNR’s awareness campaign throughout Parkinson’s Awareness Month, this week I’d like to highlight the most efficacious and evidence based voice program available for patients with Parkinson’s disease called LSVT LOUD. LSVT LOUD has been studied for over 20 years and has funding support from the National Institutes of Health as well as the Michael J. Fox Foundation, who helped fund development of a companion software to be used with the program.
The LSVT LOUD program is highly regarded in the speech pathology community worldwide, and there are several research studies showing improvements in vocal loudness, intonation, and voice quality for individuals with Parkinson’s disease who have followed this treatment protocol. Other documented improvements from this program include improved articulation, facial expression, and swallowing. ()
What Does LSVT LOUD Consist of?
LSVT LOUD improves vocal loudness and quality by addressing the underlying physiology of the larynx (voice box) through very structured and research based exercises that progress throughout the program.
The key component of LSVT LOUD that makes it so successful is that treatment is very intensive and is administered in 16 60-minute sessions over a single month to promote motor learning, skill acquisition, and neural plasticity.
My Clinical Experience with LSVT
I have been a certified LSVT LOUD provider for approximately 2 years now and have seen some amazing results! Even in the first visit, improvements are made when patients are shown how to use their voice in a new way. Then throughout the program, patients develop consistency and this new stronger voice becomes their regular voice. It’s an amazing transformation, and I am always so pleased with the program’s results.
Why Isn’t this Program Offered Everywhere?
Despite it being the most evidence based program to date for voice treatment with patients with Parkinson’s disease, this program is not available at some treatment facilities due to its intensive nature and 1-hour session lengths. Many corporate therapy centers and hospitals are under strict productivity regulations and have daily patient and financial quotas, therefore therapists in these organizations are only allowed 30-40 minute treatment sessions since voice therapy is paid by insurance on a per visit basis regardless of length of session. Sadly, this eliminates LSVT LOUD (and other 1-hour programs, such as VitalStim neuromuscular electrical stimulation) as an option for patients receiving therapy at these facilities, despite its overwhelmingly positive research and support in the medical community.
As a result, many facilities are adapting spin off therapy programs that attempt to address voice, swallowing, and cognition all in 30-40 minute sessions. While I have not directly attempted this, I know from treating each of these areas independently that spending 10-15 mins per session on each area addressed is not likely to yield the results that more intensive therapy yields with the LSVT LOUD program.
Why We Offer LSVT LOUD at SNR
When I founded SNR 2 years ago, one of my primary goals was to fill a gap in the community and make sure that local patients had access to the most efficacious treatment methods, without letting productivity or red tape issues stand in the way. At my private practice clinic, we proudly offer LSVT LOUD and other specialty programs and regularly spend over an hour on evaluations and an hour on each LSVT LOUD session to offer the best outcomes to our patients.
If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease and would like more information on the LSVT LOUD voice program, please feel free to contact our office with questions. We also offer individualized patient centered therapy for swallowing and cognition as well. More information on each of our programs is located here. We are in-network with Medicare, Community Care, and most other local private insurances and will work with patients and their insurance companies to seek coverage of services.
Help me spread the word this month of the LSVT LOUD program and its benefits!
LSVT LOUD Website: