Current speech therapy for people with Parkinson disease focuses on increasing loudness, slowing rate, and improving speech clarity. Often it is difficult for people with Parkinson disease to remember to use speech therapy techniques during everyday communication environments. We are testing the effectiveness of the SpeechVive, a small wearable device. The SpeechVive plays noise in one of the wearer’s ears while he or she is talking. The noise elicits an automatic reflex to talk louder, at more normal rate, and with improved clarity. The device can be worn throughout the day so that people with Parkinson disease can obtain better communication effectiveness in their everyday life.
Our first study of 39 people with Parkinson disease demonstrated that 90% of the participants improved loudness, rate, and/or speech clarity after wearing the device for 8 weeks. People with Parkinson disease can continue to wear the device for months or years as needed. The device is available for purchase (www.speechvive.com) and studies will be continuing within the laboratory to better understand how this device helps people with Parkinson disease, to understand its effectiveness for people with atypical Parkinsonism, and to improve treatment effectiveness with the SpeechVive. Information for potential study participants will be listed below when we are enrolling subjects.
Efficacy of a home-based treatment paradigm, EMST and SpeechVive, to improve communication in Parkinson Disease (in collaboration with Columbia University):
While nearly 90% of individuals with PD develop communication impairments, only 3-4% seek treatment from Speech-Language Pathologists. Travel to/from medical centers, time commitments required by common speech treatment programs, and overall caregiver burden are likely significant obstacles to treatment accessibility. Thus, there is a strong need to develop accessible speech treatment paradigms for individuals with PD. The primary aims of the this study are to test the effectiveness of a combined treatment paradigm, Expiratory Muscle Strength Training and the SpeechVive device, on speech and cough outcomes. Additionally, we will determine how the home-based treatment paradigm affects quality of life for speakers with PD and their caregivers.
The therapeutic effectiveness of the SpeechVive on dysprosody associated with Parkinson Disease:
One of the most common speech deficits reported by speakers with PD is monotony or a flat affect in their speech – a speech deficit formally referred to as dysprosody. Despite the need to treat dysprosody, few studies have examined potential ways to improve prosodic production for speakers with PD. The SpeechVive has shown promise to be an effective treatment source for dysprosody as it has previously improved acoustic markers of prosody. The aim of this study was to assess whether utilizing the SpeechVive for 8 weeks improves prosodic production for speakers with PD. Results found that the SpeechVive improves aspects of dysprosody associated with PD, particularly by increasing pitch range and variability.
A comparison of two vocal intensity treatments for speakers with Parkinson Disease (in collaboration with University of Massachusetts-Amherst):
LSVT-LOUD and the SpeechVive are two independent, widely-used speech treatment sources know to increase vocal intensity for people with PD. The LSVT-LOUD approach trains speakers with PD to monitor their vocal intensity and remember to speak louder in communicative contexts – an approach that relies heavily on cognitive resources that are compromised in PD. The SpeechVive is an in-ear device that plays noise into the ear of the speaker during speech. The SpeechVive decreases the cognitive demand required for treatment by automatically triggering speakers to speak louder, similar to how you automatically speak louder in loud restaurants. This ongoing study compares two popular approaches for the treatment of decreased speaking volume associated with Parkinson’s disease. The primary aim is to establish a voice rehabilitation program that maximizes treatment outcomes for speakers with decreased vocal intensity due to PD.
Development of a telehealth platform for treatment with the SpeechVive device:
Approximately 75-90% of people with PD experience communication impairments that impact all aspects of daily life, but only 3-4% of people with PD participate in speech therapy during their disease due in part to difficulties in accessing treatment. An easily accessible and cost-effective communication treatment for individuals with PD is needed, and can be provided by a telehealth platform. The SpeechVive device is a treatment solution that meets the criteria for ease of use and effectiveness. The SpeechVive device is currently set for the patient in-person, reducing the potential for wide adoption due to the difficulties patients face accessing healthcare. By using video conferencing for treatment and remote programming, we will develop a telehealth platform for the SpeechVive device that should improve accessibility for people with PD.
- Elaine Francis
- Sebastien Hélie
- Georgia Malandraki
- Meghan McDonough
- Kelly Richardson
- Angela Roberts
- Carrie Rountrey
- Elaine T. Stathopoulos
- Joan Sussman
- Michelle Troche
- S. Elizabeth Zauber
Funding provided by:
- National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- SpeechVive, Inc
- Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute
- Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering
External links with more information about the SpeechVive:
- Video of Patient using the SpeechVive
- Video of Dr. Huber’s TEDxPurdueU talk
- Video about the SpeechVive
- SpeechVive launch
- SpeechVive, Inc business news
Articles and Podcasts about Dr. Huber and her development of the SpeechVive:
- Device to help people with Parkinson disease communicate better now available
- The SpeechVive In Conversation with Inventor, Jessica Huber
- This is Purdue Episode 1 – Hope Times Two
- Speech Uncensored S3:E2 SpeechVive: a Wearable Device for People with Parkinon’s Diseas with Jessica E. Huber, PhD, CCC-SLP