Voice FAQ

Q: My voice gets hoarse partway through the day.  What can I do?

Voice disorders can lead to isolation.  Speech Therapy can help.

Voice disorders can lead to isolation.  Speech Therapy can help.

Start out with some basic Vocal hygiene strategies.  If you don’t see an improvement, see your ENT (otolaryngologist) to check your vocal fold health and call me for a free consult.  Voice therapy available both in-home and online.  

Q: I’ve always “talked quiet”.  But now I need to give presentations and the audience complains they can’t hear me.  What do I do? 

Sometimes when people attempt to talk louder, they get louder from their vocal cords, straining their voice, which can cause damage. We can develop a program and teach you strategies to increase your loudness the right way, using your entire system, including respiration, voice and articulation to increase your ability to be heard. Voice therapy available both in-home and online.  

Parkinson's Voice Treatment FAQ

Q: Isn’t a quieter voice just part of Parkinson’s?  Does voice treatment actually help?

It can.  We offer several research-backed treatment options including:

  • SPEAK OUT! is a program that strengthens the muscles of speaking and swallowing and helps teach people how to speak deliberately and with intent, which is vital with Parkinson's. I am currently the ONLY trained provider of SPEAK OUT! in the area.  Learn more about Parkinson's and how SPEAK OUT can help in this video.
    • 12 treatment sessions, 40-45 minutes
    • Graduates of SPEAK OUT! can participate in a free LOUD crowd group program to help them maintain their function.  The LOUD crowd in Green Bay, Wisconsin currently has a waiting list, but participants in the SPEAK OUT! will receive information about how to join.  
  • Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT-LOUD) focuses on increased effort and recalibrating awareness of vocal strength and loudness.  
    • 16 treatment sessions, 60 minutes each
    • ENT consult is required

The key to benefits of voice treatment is motivation.  The client has to be willing to put in the work, not just in therapy sessions (although that's vital), but with continuing daily practice to maintain progress and the benefits of the voice treatment.  

Q: How “hard’ is the LSVT-LOUD program?  I tire easily / I'm busy.

All programs are individualized.  LSVT-LOUD may not be the right program for you.  SPEAK OUT! may be more appropriate.  I am trained in BOTH LSVT-LOUD and SPEAK OUT!, and am in the only provider in the area trained in both.  We can determine which program is better suited to meet your individual needs.

LSVT-LOUD is a 16-session program, approx 60 minutes each.  SPEAK OUT! is more efficient, a 12-session program, approx 40 minutes each.  After we start the program, we may be able to decrease the frequency/session length to suit your needs, if you are practicing at home and making enough progress.   

We can also look at other strategies, including respiratory support, easy onset, amplification, alternative communication, and more.  An otolaryngologist can rule out causes that require medical management.  We will help you improve vocal hygiene, prevent misuse and coordinate your systems to help form a healthy voice.

Maximum effort is required for maximum benefit.  The old adage --"You get out what you put it" --certainly applies here, as it applies to most speech therapy programs. Because of the way Parkinson's impact on dopamine levels and the body, voice treatment for Parkinson's requires effort.  It is hard work.

But the reward is a functional voice.

As with all of our treatment programs, home exercises are incorporated into your daily living tasks for functional practice.    Sample home exercise tasks include using your new voice to:

  • Order a cup of coffee

  • Discuss a news article

  • Say “good morning”

  • Call to set up a doctor appointment

 

Q: What if LSVT is too aggressive for me?  Can you still help my voice?

All programs are individualized.  LSVT may be a good fit; if so, "GREAT!" and we follow the protocol.  It may not be a good fit for you.

The SPEAK OUT! program has many advantages over LSVT, including only 12 treatment sessions, 40-45 minutes each.   

We can also look at other strategies, including respiratory support, easy onset, amplification, alternative communication, and more.  An otolaryngologist can rule out causes that require medical management.  We will help you improve vocal hygiene, prevent misuse and coordinate your systems to help form a healthy voice.  

Q: I want to do LSVT-LOUD, but I'm too far from a certified SLP, or it's too difficult to go to outpatient 4 days a week.  What can I do?

If you are in the greater Green Bay, De Pere, Appleton, Wisconsin area, you aren't too far!  I provide all treatments in-home.  In-home services tend to be more convenient, comfortable, and functional for the clients, compared to outpatient.  

If you have a high-speed internet connection and a relatively updated computer with microphone, speaker and camera, you can participate in teletherapy!  SPEAK OUT! and Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT-LOUD) are also available via telepractice.  Here at Speech Spark, I'm E-LOUD certified, which means I am certified to provide LSVT services over the internet in certain areas.  Contact me for a free consult to see if you are a candidate for this option.  This means you can still participate in your voice program from the convenience and comfort of your own home.  Learn more about telepractice.

Q: How do I pay for Voice Treatment?

Voice treatment for Parkinson's is often medically necessary and if you have Medicare, the speech therapy is usually covered at 80%.  Your supplementary insurance may be billed or you will be responsible for the remaining 20%.  Speech Spark Services, LLC does also accept private pay for all services, as well as can provide a special invoice for you to provide to your insurance for out-of-network reimbursement.

Speech therapy is an investment to improve your quality of life and allow you to be able to say what you want to say, when you want to say it, and speak to be heard.

Goals from previous clients have included being able to order coffee, being able to call for help, to be able to tell caregivers what they want, and "to be able to argue".