||Halpern AE, Ramig LO, Matos CEC, Petska-Cable JA, Spielman JL, Pogoda JM, Gilley PM, Sapir S, Bennett JK, McFarland DH
Purpose: To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of a newly developed assistive technology system, Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Companion (LSVT (R) Companion, hereafter referred to as "Companion"), to support the delivery of LSVT (R)LOUD, an efficacious speech intervention for individuals with Parkinson disease (PD). Method: Sixteen individuals with PD were randomized to an immediate ( n = 8) or a delayed ( n = 8) treatment group. They participated in 9 LSVT LOUD sessions and 7 Companion sessions, independently administered at home. Acoustic, listener perception, and voice and speech rating data were obtained immediately before (pre), immediately after (post), and at 6 months post treatment (follow-up). System usability ratings were collected immediately post treatment. Changes in vocal sound pressure level were compared to data from a historical treatment group of individuals with PD treated with standard, in-person LSVT LOUD. Results: All 16 participants were able to independently use the Companion. These individuals had therapeutic gains in sound pressure level, pre to post and pre to follow-up, similar to those of the historical treatment group. Conclusions: This study supports the use of the Companion as an aid in treatment of hypokinetic dysarthria in individuals with PD. Advantages and disadvantages of the Companion, as well as limitations of the present study and directions for future studies, are discussed.