Research Insights

Effects of speech therapy and pharmacologic and surgical treatments on voice and speech in Parkinson’s disease: A review of the literature

Journal of Communication Disorders

Schulz, G.M. & Grant, M.K. (2000) Effects of speech therapy and pharmacologic and surgical treatments on voice and speech in Parkinson’s disease: A review of the literature Journal of Communication Disorders, 33(1), 59-88

This article examined the different treatment approaches for persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and examined the effects of these treatments on speech. Treatment methods reviewed include speech therapy, pharmacological, and surgical. Recent research has shown that speech therapy (when persons with PD are optimally medicated) has proven to be the most efficacious therapeutic method for improving voice and speech function. Therapeutic devices have included the voice amplifier, delayed auditory feedback (DAF), the wearable intensity biofeedback device, and a masking device. Pharmacological methods of treatment in isolation do not appear to significantly improve voice and speech function in PD across research studies. Surgical treatment methods including pallidotomy and deep brain stimulation may be significant treatment options that improve voice and speech function in some persons with PD. Furthermore, future research should examine the combination of these three treatment approaches to examine their effects on speech.

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