Not only does LSVT® improve phonatory effort and vocal characteristics (loudness, pitch variability, vocal quality), it also improves speech articulation. Dromey (59) compared the effects of two treatment approaches, LSVT®, and exaggerated articulation during speech and found that the LSVT® was significantly more effective in improving speech articulation. Sapir et al. (28) used acoustic and perceptual analyses to assess the impact of LSVT® on vowel articulation in dysarthric individuals with PD (n = 14). There was a significant improvement in both vowel acoustics (formants) and perceptual ratings (vowel goodness post-relative to pre-LSVT®), as well as in VocSPL, in the group receiving LSVT®, but not in individuals with PD (n = 15) and healthy age-matched controls (n = 14) who did not receive treatment. The improvement in vowel acoustics and rating were interpreted as evidence for improvement in vowel articulation associated with LSVT®. These findings are consistent with a previous perceptual study (4) documenting increased ratings of speech loudness and speech quality in individuals with PD receiving LSVT®, but not in individuals with PD receiving RET.
The improvement in vowel articulation with LSVT® in individuals with PD is consistent with Schulman (126), showing that as a speaker talks louder, there are accompanying vocal tract and articulatory changes. These effects have been long-lasting and treatment-specific as documented in a 12-month follow-up study (121). LSVT® has also been shown to improve facial expression (17), tongue strength and motility (16), and swallowing (8) in individuals with PD.
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