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Resonance Disorders, Voice Disorders

& Parkinson's Disease

Resonance Disorders occur when a person is unable to get adequate closure of the nasal passage to build up enough pressure in the mouth to produce various sounds (hypernasality) or when air cannot pass through the nasal passage (hyponasality). Velopharyngeal closure occurs when the soft palate (velum) raises and comes into contact with the back of the throat (pharynx) to close off the nasal passage and direct air through the mouth.  The only sounds that are directed through the nose are /m/, /n/ and /ng/.  All other sounds are produced with velopharyngeal closure.  

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Voice Disorders tend to affect vocal pitch, volume, resonance and quality.  Sophisticated instrumentation has helped Speech-Language Pathologists learn more about how to treat voice disorders and help patients achieve optimal competent voice production. A clear, professional sounding and pleasing voice is important to overall communication. 

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity and slow, imprecise movements.  The disease is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a lack of dopamine (a neurotransmitter). 

Patients with Parkinson’s disease often sound breathy, low pitched, and monotoned.  The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program (LSVT LOUD) emphasizes stimulating patients to increase respiratory and phonatory efforts and to sustain those efforts over time (Brin, Velick, Ramig, & Fox, 2004)

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