Chronic neurologic diseases, such as Parkinson's disease are debilitating conditions which progress over time. While the physical symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease are easily recognized by the general public, the decrease in communicative ability associated with Parkinson’s disease is an often overlooked symptom, which affects a majority of this population. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is an example of how Parkinson’s disease can affect a patient's speech pattern. This speech condition, known as hypokinetic dysathria, is characterized by reduced vocal volume, impaired speech rate and diminished articulation.

The SpeechVive device is based on the research by Jessia Huber, Ph.D, at Purdue University who has worked with people with Parkinson’s disease for over 12 years.

Jessica received an NIH grant to study the Lombard effect in people with Parkinson’s disease. A 39 patient clinical trial demonstrated that 75% of participants received at least a 2.5 dB increase immediately. Another 15% had similar increased sound pressure levels after wearing the device for 8 weeks.

A clinical study funded by the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that 90% of the 39 participants had better speech volume, clarity, and/or rate by the end of the 8-week treatment period.

How SpeechVive Works

SpeechVive detects when the patient is speaking using an accelerometer which is built into the earpiece. During speech, the device plays a background sound into the user's ear. The background sound, which resembles a room full of people talking during a party, is a natural cue that elicits louder and clearer speech through an involuntary reflex known as the Lombard Effect.

SpeechVive is designed to elicit improved speech clarity without placing cognitive demand on the patient. SpeechVive does not require training or behavioral modification and may immediately improve a patient's speech clarity, by altering volume, articulation or speech rate.

When a patient is not speaking, the SpeechVive device turns off the background sound, which enhances the patient's ability to hear and communicate effectively.