Speech / Voice Therapy and Exercises
As Parkinson's progresses, the person with PD may become harder to understand. Their voice often becomes softer (hypophonia) or hoarse. Their face may become more “masked” or expressionless. Their voice may sound monotone or have less inflection. They may speak faster (festinating speech), mumble, or repeat words or phrases (cluttering or palilalia). Together these symptoms are known as hypokinetic dysarthria.
Speech/language pathologists, also called speech therapists, are specialists in communication disorders. They can help those with Parkinson's compensate for these changes. They can also help with swallowing issues. Many speech therapists combine speech, voice, and cognitive exercises to also compensate for slowed thinking and attention issues.
Finding A Speech Therapist in Northern California
If you live in Northern California, contact the APDA Information & Referral Center at Stanford for a referral to a speech/language pathologist near you. Many of these speech therapists have experience treating those with Parkinson's.
If You Don't Use It, You Lose It!
For those with Parkinson's disease (PD) exercise is as important as medications, and that includes exercise of the muscles that control speech. Along with our lists of live online exercise classes and PD exercise videos, this page lists speech/voice exercises to do at-home.
LSVT-LOUD is an intensive behavioral treatment program that requires sixteen therapy sessions in one month with a trained speech therapist. The primary goal is to help improve vocal loudness. As a result of therapy, improvements in speech clarity and breathing are often seen. DVDs are also sold for at-home treatment.
This nonprofit offers SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® therapy programs. Treatment begins with a speech evaluation, followed by Parkinson's information sessions and SPEAK OUT!® training with six weeks of follow up. Participants graduate to the LOUD Crowd® Facebook Live speech practice sessions for daily home practice, speech and singing groups, or SPEAK OUT!® refresher courses.
By Houston Area Parkinson Society
Classes: speech, speech and exercise
Class Times (PT):
- Monday: noon (speech and exercise)
- Tuesday: 11:45am (speech), 2:45pm (speech and exercise)
- Thursday: 8:30am (speech)
Duration: 60 minutes (speech), 90 minutes (speech and exercise)
On the calendar, click on the class you want to join to get the link to join the class.
By Impact Parkinson's (Westminster, BC)
Cost: $120 / 6 classes (2x week),
$30 / 30-min. virtual assessment for new clients,
$125/hr. 1:1 sessions (min. 5, max. 8)
Classes: virtual group voice therapy
Class Times (PT):
- Wednesday: 1pm
- Friday: 1pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Register by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-525-2631.
By Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (Southampton, NY)
Class: Sing Loud
Class times (PT):
- Wednesday: 12:30pm (Sing Loud)
A chorus for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. No previous musical experience is required and all lyrics will be provided!
Zoom Voice Group for PwP
By Santa Cruz Parkinson's Community Support Group
Cost: $60 / 6 weeks (EASE PD Newsletter discount is $30 off)
Class: voice exercise
Class times (PT):
- Monday: 11am
Duration: 60 minutes
Classes run in 6 week sessions with a break in between. Class size is limited. Registrants must commit to all 6 weeks. You can register for the class with the instructor, speech language therapist, Jocelyn Lagier, on her website, by phone (831-607-9520), or by using this form and mail her a check for tuition.
By Parkinson's Foundation of the National Capital Area (Silver Spring, MD)
Cost: $35/year (unlimited classes)
Classes: Communication Club, choir, social hour
Class Time (PT):
- Monday: noon
- Tuesday: 11am
- Wednesday: 8am (choir), noon (Communication Club), 1pm (social hour)
- Thursday: 11:30am
- Friday: 11:15am
Register once and join unlimited classes for a year.
Some classes are recorded and can be watched here.
Publisher: Neuro Challenge Foundation For Parkinson's and Key Chorale (Sarasota, FL)
Several 1-hour choral rehearsal videos of the Off Key Chorale, a Parkinson's and Parkinson's care partners choir. In this series the choir is learning 11 songs from the folk music era of the 50s and 60s. Each video begins with 15-20 mins. of easy stretching, breathing, and diction exercises.
Register for free to receive copies of either the lyrics or music via email. Print your copies or view them from a device and sing along.
Publisher: Triad Solutions, Inc. (Colorado)
Dual Task Training is combining speech therapy with physical movement and cognitive tasks. It has been shown to be the most comprehensive and fun type of speech therapy. This page has seven short dual task exercise videos plus one video of aquatic dual task training.
Publisher: Keep It On
Number five on this page of short exercise videos is an eight-minute breath and voice exercise video to enhance breathing, voice loudness and articulation.
By Get LOUD! Stay LOUD!
Cost: $34.99/month or $349.99/year, first month free
Online post speech therapy maintenance with a speech language pathologist (SLP) trained in either LSVT LOUD or Speak OUT!
Includes 15+ voice practice sessions per week as well as facial exercises, articulation practice, and more.
Publisher: LSVT Global, Inc. Cost: $28 for DVD or download; $15/year streaming
Speech exercises for people with Parkinson's Disease and other neurological conditions. Available in English and Cantonese.
By Voice Aerobics (Punta Gorda, FL)
A whole-body voice strengthening program, designed to serve as post speech therapy maintenance, developed by speech language pathologist Mary Spemulli.
Mary has made the program available on DVD and added fun speech practice tools, a speech volume reinforcement tool, and more. She also offers speech therapy and coaching via Zoom. (Telemedicine rates start at $40/30 minutes)
Before purchasing any products it is a good idea to watch her video, Speech Therapy and Beyond for Parkinson's Disease, in which she explains who benefits from speech therapy and the most effective speech therapy programs for those with PD.
Last updated November 2020 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach