Evidence-based treatment of voice and speech disorders in Parkinson disease

Leslie A. Mahler, Lorraine O. Ramig, Cynthia Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Voice and speech impairments are present in nearly 90% of people with Parkinson disease and negatively impact communication and quality of life. This review addresses the efficacy of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) LOUD to improve vocal loudness (as measured by vocal sound pressure level vocSPL) and functional communication in people with Parkinson disease. The underlying physiologic mechanisms of Parkinson disease associated with voice and speech changes and the strength of the current treatment evidence are discussed with recommendations for best clinical practice. Recent findings Two randomized control trials demonstrated that participants who received LSVT LOUD were significantly better on the primary outcome variable of improved vocSPL posttreatment than alternative and no treatment groups. Treatment effects were maintained for up to 2 years. In addition, improvements have been demonstrated in associated outcome variables, including speech rate, monotone, voice quality, speech intelligibility, vocal fold adduction, swallowing, facial expression and neural activation. Advances in technology-supported treatment delivery are enhancing treatment accessibility. Summary Data support the efficacy of LSVT LOUD to increase vocal loudness and functional communication in people with Parkinson disease. Timely intervention is essential for maximizing quality of life for people with Parkinson disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-215
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Parkinson disease
  • neuroplasticity
  • treatment


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