Parkinson's and SpeechEasy
SpeechEasy is a tool to help you regain control of your speech. It is proven technology which can be used to increase speech intelligibility in those with Parkinson’s. Worn in one ear and similar in appearance to a hearing aid, SpeechEasy has been shown to help those with Parkinson’s increase their ability to communicate more effectively and confidently. SpeechEasy delivers Delayed Auditory Feedback (a time delay) and Frequency Altered Feedback (a change in pitch) to help address speech intelligibility issues, specifically the repetitions of speech that many people with the disease exhibit. When using DAF and FAF, a person experiences what is called the “choral speech effect.” Choral speech is simply people speaking together in unison and it has been shown that this effect can help lessen repetitions and hurried speech. Simply put, by using the device and hearing oneself speak at a slight delay and change in pitch, the brain perceives that as someone speaking along with you. Therefore, the effects of choral speech are present.
There are numerous studies published about the use of DAF and FAF and their use in helping to create more intelligible speech. However, one study in specific looks at how SpeechEasy has been used to help facilitate clearer speech in those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Emily Wang at Rush University in Chicago, IL has worked extensively with Parkinson’s patients who are using SpeechEasy. In her study, she found that patients with palilalia and frequent hesitations in their speech showed marked improvement when using SpeechEasy. The improvements were seen in both speaking rate as well as overall intelligibility. A summary of this study is included in our information packet so that you can review the details more closely for yourself.
Other studies are underway that will continue to look at how SpeechEasy can be used to benefit the communication of those with Parkinson’s. However, even with the positive results seen so far, you will be the best judge in determining how SpeechEasy can help you.
Below is a video of a SpeechEasyPD client sharing her story.