WHAT WE MAKE ...
GIVES PARKINSON'S PATIENTS A VOICE
Nearly 90 percent of the 1.5 million patients who live with Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder, live with “soft voice.” Known as hypophonia, the words they produce are hushed, whispery or even hoarse.
Jessica Huber, associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences, has invented SpeechViveTM, a device that cues patients to speak louder and more clearly.
HOW SpeechViveTM WORKS
The device, which rests in the patient's ear, provides a stream of noise similar to the background chatter at a party, cueing the patient to naturally talk louder. This response is known as the Lombard effect.
Huber is working with the Purdue Research Foundation to bring the device to market, which could be as early as 2013. The first clinical trial with 39 patients was positive, and even inspired a new wireless version.
This fall, the second version of the device will be tested in a second clinical trial. Huber will continue to evaluate patient compliance and other device modifications. She also is teaming with scientists in the Department of Health and Kinesiology to study how they can improve gait and physical movement of patients with Parkinson's disease.
PARTNERS AND FUNDERS
- University at Buffalo's Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences
- National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Life Sciences Institute at Purdue (LSIPurdue)
- Indiana CTSI (Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute)
- Family and Social Services Administration, State of Indiana, through Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering
- Jim Jones and Kirk Foster, both from Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, who designed the electronics and built the SpeechViveTM devices.