Megumi Azekawa, MM, MT-BC, A. Blythe Lagasse, PHD, MT-BC; Singing Exercises for Speech and Vocal Abilities in Individuals with Hypokinetic Dysarthria: A Feasibility Study. Music Ther Perspect 2017 miw042. doi: 10.1093/mtp/miw042
Many individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) develop characteristics of hypokinetic dysarthria during the course of the disease. As communication skills are predominant factors in everyday life, dysarthric speech symptoms immediately influence decreased competence in communication, thereby increased frustration, and loss of confidence regardless of the degree of symptoms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of a group music therapy protocol using Neurologic Music Therapy techniques for treating voice and speech deficits due to hypokinetic dysarthria seen in individuals with PD. Five participants with PD exhibiting characteristics of hypokinetic dysarthria participated in six weekly group music therapy sessions. Three speech assessments were administered as pretest and posttest to assess participants’ improvement in variables that measured vocal function, voice quality, articulatory control, and connected speech intelligibility through acoustic and perceptual analyses. Feasibility and outcome measures provided initial evidence to warrant further study of the protocol.