UPMC offers Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) Big and Loud therapies to empower those living with Parkinson’s disease to move and speak better. The LSVT® Programs have been developed and scientifically researched over the past 20 years with funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease often experience declining vocal strength, muffled speech, and difficulty swallowing which create problems with communication and eating. Patients also often experience tremors, slow movement, impaired balance, and stiffness.
Studies have proven patients with Parkinson’s disease at any stage can benefit from intensive rehabilitation. LSVT®Big and Loud therapy is especially effective soon after the disease is diagnosed.
Certified physical or occupational therapists use the LSVT® Big therapy by addressing the unique movement impairments for people with Parkinson disease. The protocol is both intensive and complex, with many repetitions of core movements that are used in daily living.
Research on LSVT® Big has documented improved ratings on tests of motor functioning in persons with Parkinson’s disease following treatment including: faster walking with bigger steps, improved balance, and increased trunk rotation.
LSVT® Big treatment consists of:
- 16 sessions: four consecutive days per week for four weeks
- Individual one-hour sessions
- Daily homework
- Exercise practice
LSVT® Big treatment:
- Trains a single target of amplitude (bigger movements)
- Drives intensive and high-effort practice
- Teaches the amount of effort required to produce normal movements
- Translates bigger movements into real-world, everyday activities
- Empowers people with Parkinson’s disease with their potential to improve
LSVT® Loud is a Parkinson’s-specific speech therapy designed to improve vocal loudness, speech intelligibility, and facial expression through the same premise of intensity and repetition.
LSVT® Loud research has demonstrated improved vocal loudness, improved speech intelligibility, and more facial expression. Additional improvements that have been noted include improvement in swallowing and the masked facial expression which often accompanies Parkinson’s disease.
LSVT® Loud treatment consists of:
- One-month of intense treatment
- One-hour per day
- Four days per week, totaling 16 different treatment sessions
LSVT® Loud treatment:
- Increasing vocal intensity
- Increasing breath support
- Increasing pitch range
- Improving vocal quality
If you think you or a family member/friend would benefit from LSVT® Big and/or Loud therapies, ask your primary care doctor or neurologist for a referral.