Assistive devices

Here's a sample of the assistive devices that are available to help people with Parkinson's disease communicate more clearly (if they are available):

Palatal lift

This is a dental apparatus that is similar to a retainer. It lifts the soft palate and stops air from escaping out of the nose during speech.

Amplification

This is a personal amplifier that can be used to increase vocal loudness in soft-spoken people. The amplifier also decreases voice fatigue.

TTY telephone relay system

This is a telephone equipped with a keyboard so speech can be typed and read by a relay operator to the listener. Either the whole message can be typed or just the words that are not understood can be typed.

Low-technology devices

Notebooks and language boards can be used as alternative communication techniques.

High-technology electronic speech enhancers, communication devices

Computers with voice synthesizers and dedicated communication devices are available.

Patients who are interested in purchasing electronic communication aids should discuss this with a speech-language therapist before contacting sales representatives for these devices.

Communication partners

Here are some ways in which listeners can help people who have difficulty speaking and communicating:

  • Talk to the person face-to-face only, and look at the person as he or she is speaking.
  • Ask questions that require a "yes" or "no" answer.
  • Repeat the part of the sentence that you understood. (For example, "You want me to go upstairs and get the what?")
  • Ask the person to repeat what he or she said, or ask him or her to speak more slowly or spell out the words you did not understand.

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