Voice Improvement in Parkinson’s Disease: Vocal Pedagogy and Voice Therapy Combined

  • Voice Improvement in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Author / Creator
    Tanner, Merrill A.
  • The objective of this study was to examine a group vocalization program consisting of vocal exercises and choral singing designed to improve the voices of people with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD). A single group pretest-posttest research design was used. A total of 28 people with IPD participated in the study. Half (n=14) participated in an intervention program in the spring of 2010, and the other half participated in the fall of the same year. The intervention program was six weeks long. Two groups of 7 participants each attended one 90-minute session per week, and the two groups came together at the end of every week for another 90-minute session. Each session included vocal warm-up, vocal exercises, singing exercises, choral speech, and choral singing with piano accompaniment. Participants were provided with video and audio files of songs and exercises to facilitate daily vocal practice. Speech-Language Pathologists not involved with treatment gathered acoustic and perceptual data on participants’ voices pre- and post-treatment, while another Speech-Language Pathologist with experience and training in both singing technique and voice therapy provided treatment. Participants were tested for pre-/post-treatment changes in “vocal ability” (nine acoustic/timing measures and two SLP-rated perceptual measures) and “vocal quality of life” (two participant-rated measures) for a total of 13 dependent variables. Statistically significant changes at the .004 level of significance (a correction for the number of variables employed) were found in two of the eleven measures of “vocal ability” (average frequency during an oral reading task and maximum intensity range) and in one of the two measures of “vocal quality of life” (the Speech Intelligibility Inventory: Self Assessment Form). Three of the eleven measures of “vocal ability” were found to be clinically relevant changes (maximum intensity range, maximum frequency range, and fundamental frequency variation during oral reading). Changes in scores on both questionnaires used to measure “vocal quality of life” were also found to be clinically relevant. In sum, three of thirteen measures showed statistically significant changes and five of the thirteen showed clinically relevant changes. While modest, these results indicate that participants experienced some improvement in their vocal ability and in vocal quality of life following participation in this group intervention. Measures that exhibited positive trends merit further investigation.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Rehabilitation Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Sharon Warren (Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
    • Dr. Melanie Campbell (Speech-Language Pathology)
    • Dr. Philip Doyle (Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Western Ontario)
    • Dr. Linda Rammage (Audiology & Speech Sciences, University of British Columbia)
    • Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff (Department of Music)