Speech Amplification Device Usage for the Management of Hypophonia: A Survey of Speech-Language Pathologists

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2024 Apr 2:1-36. doi: 10.1044/2024_AJSLP-23-00395. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who assess and treat people with Parkinson's disease (PD) to gather insights into their decision making regarding their use or potential use of speech amplification technology for the management of hypophonia.

Method: A total of 111 SLPs who were currently practicing in the United States or Canada and had experience working with clients with PD for at least 2 years completed an anonymous Qualtrics survey. Questions were designed to probe the following areas: (a) degree of familiarity with amplification devices as a form of treatment for PD, (b) attitudes and perceptions of the implementation of these devices for PD, and (c) factors that influence the clinical decision to prescribe such devices.

Results: Most participants (75; 71%) reported they had considered prescribing a device to at least one client with PD. When asked at which stages of speech or voice impairment they would consider the use of an amplification device for clients with PD, the most common response was for clients with moderate or severe hypophonia who were not stimulable for louder speech. However, 36 (32%) respondents indicated they would also consider an amplification device for clients who were stimulable for louder speech with severe hypophonia. When asked to rank the most important factors they would weigh when considering the prescription of an amplification device, they ranked the client's preference and comfort level as the most important consideration.

Conclusion: This study provides valuable clinical insights regarding how SLPs can approach utilizing speech amplification devices in the therapy environment.