The Sound Center launches video series for people with Parkinson's Disease. Ann instructs viewers to use intent to speak clearly, a powerful tool for people with Parkinson's Disease.

The Sound Center launches video series for people with Parkinson’s Disease

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The Sound Center is pleased to announce the release of our new video series for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Do you or a loved one have Parkinson’s Disease? Do you want to find helpful treatments for speech, swallowing, or brain function?  Do you want to identify changes quickly and take action to improve your quality of life? If so, this video series is for you!

Speech-language pathologist Ann Kolker Rychel comments,

I’m excited to be a part of this! People should know there are research-based interventions that really work. For example, the SPEAK OUT! program takes people with Parkinson’s Disease from whispering and mumbling to being able to speak clearly and be heard at a family party!

Early treatment is essential in maintaining function. A speech pathologist can recognize small changes before they become a big problem. Speech disorders alone are estimated to affect nearly 90% of people with Parkinson’s disease, but only 3-4% will receive treatment for changes in speech1. The Sound Center can help!

People with Parkinson’s Disease, due to a lack of dopamine, have an impaired ability to do actions that used to be automatic, such as talking, walking, and writing. When they use intent to speak, their speech is more precise and their voice is clearer. They are able to be heard. Sometimes the change is dramatic.

Ann begins this new video series for people with Parkinson’s Disease with a demonstration of the use of intent. She invites the viewer to try using intent in simple phrases. She provides a brief glimpse into the power of doing actions on purpose.

The first video is just the beginning. New videos will be released twice a month, so stay tuned for more videos! For more information now:

1 Dashtipour K, Tafreshi A, Lee J, Crawley B. Speech disorders in Parkinson’s disease: pathophysiology, medical management and surgical approaches. Neurodegener Dis Manag. 2018 Oct;8(5):337-348. doi: 10.2217/nmt-2018-0021. Epub 2018 Sep 18. PMID: 30223711.
Parkinson Voice Project in Richmond, Texas

Parkinson’s News

A couple of interesting items we wanted to share:

  1. Tonight is the 15th Anniversary Celebration of Parkinson Voice Project, the non-profit organization that provides training for the therapy we do for people with Parkinson’s. SPEAK OUT! and LOUD Crowd! The webpage provides a mass of information that is helpful, inspiring, and educational. Check it out here and tune in tonight at 6:30 Central Time!
  2. One of the most frequent ideas we use in our SPEAK OUT! and LOUD Crowd sessions is to SPEAK WITH INTENT. A recent study looked at the frequency of feedback in communication interactions.
    • They compared the feedback messages provided by people with Parkinson’s versus people who don’t have Parkinson’s.
    • They found that people with Parkinson’s provided less feedback. You could say that the people with Parkinson’s communicated less than the people without Parkinson’s.
    • So, my take-away is that I need to encourage people in my SPEAK OUT! and LOUD Crowd therapy to SPEAK MORE!
Use intent to SPEAK MORE, and when you speak, SPEAK WITH INTENT!

The Sound Center Now Accepting United Health Care Plans

The Sound Center is now an in-network provider for the following health plans:

  • United Healthcare Medicare Solutions
  • UHC of Illinois
  • UHC-Navigate
  • UHC-Compass
  • UHC Charter
  • NexusACO NR
  • NexusACO R

We are also participating providers for Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and Medicare.

We are happy to partner with these plans to help you receive the care you need. If you don’t see your plan listed above, contact us. New plans are being added.

The LOUD Crowd® is now at The Sound Center

Michelle Eppley opening LOUD Crowd® materials

On October 16, 2019, we will host our first LOUD Crowd® group for people with Parkinson’s Disease. We are eager to get going with all of the materials provided through the grant offered by Parkinson Voice Project. The LOUD Crowd® is a weekly group therapy program for maintenance of strong voice learned in the SPEAK OUT!® program for individuals. For more information please call us at 630-435-5622 or email us at

The Sound Center, Inc. Receives Grant to Help People with Parkinson’s Disease

The Sound Center, Inc. has received a grant from Parkinson Voice Project. This grant will help bring the SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® therapy programs to our area in the western suburbs of Chicago.

The Parkinson Voice Project’s mission is “to preserve the voices of individuals with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders through intensive speech therapy, follow-up support, research, education, and community awareness.” This nonprofit organization, located in Richardson, Texas, aims to replicate their highly effective therapy programs throughout the world.

The therapy program involves two important steps: First, patients participate in SPEAK OUT!®,  an intensive one-on-one experience. Exercises for speech, voice and cognition are completed. Secondly, patients participate in the LOUD Crowd®. Participants work on their skills in a group setting. They also share information and experience camaraderie and accountability.

The Sound Center, Inc. is accepting clients who want to get started with the highly effective SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® therapy programs now! Contact us for more information or to schedule a session. We accept Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. Other insurance providers may also offer benefits for this treatment. Give us a call at 630-435-5622 or send us a message here.

Your Voice May Identify Serious Health Problems

Researchers have found biomarkers in the voice that identify certain diseases, including mental health disorders, central nervous system problems, and even heart issues!

What can be detected in a voice? Emotions? Our physical state? Our level of confidence? Yes to all!

Makes sense, right? If we feel sanguine or sad, others know it after only hearing us speak a few words. Likewise, if we are worn out or wired, self-assured or filled with self-doubt, our voices tell the tale.

Voice Bio-WHAT?

But would you believe that researchers are exploring ways that our voices can indicate disorders and diseases? They have identified people with post-traumatic stress disorder, coronary artery diesase, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and other problems. They use voice biomarkers, which are acoustic measures of the voice signal.

Blood, Urine and VOICE SAMPLE?

As you talk to Siri or Alexa, consider that someday your voice might be used as a key indicator of your health. Currently, you may use your voice to initiate web searches, operate devices, and connect with others. But imagine that for a routine physical, you have blood drawn, vitals taken, and finally, submit a voice sample for acoustic analysis!

Reality Check

I am an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) passionate about voice. Over the years, I have investigated a dizzying number of acoustic voice measures. But even with all of this data, we have yet to find definitive identifiers of specific voice disorders. However, SLPs are often the first professionals to suspect neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. We are experienced in listening to the voice characteristics that often accompany this disease: For instance, we may notice fast rushes of speech, reduced loudness, and reduced precision of articulation that are hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease. We have been trained to use our ears for this rather than acoustic analysis.

Therefore, I wonder about the measures used in the studies mentioned above. I will be diving deeper into the research, and will tell you more as I learn.

More Information for You

As a footnote, if you or a loved one has speech or voice concerns, contact us. We accept Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and are experts in treating many speech and voice problems, including Parkinson’s disease. Read more about Speak OUT!™, the highly effective therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

A New Voice

There’s a strong new voice for people who have multiple sclerosis or spasmodic dysphonia. This voice belongs to the talented actress, Selma Blair. She was recently interviewed by Robin Robinson on Nightline and Vanity Fair magazine. She certainly had a lot to say about living with MS and SD, being authentic, and learning to see others with compassion.

Spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is a voice disorder that originates in the brain. It causes spasms in the larynx which interrupt the voice. As a result, the voice may sound breathy or strained and choppy. It can also sound variably breathy and strained, depending on the type of SD. You can listen to examples of different types of spasmodic dysphonia at the website for the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association here. Also, if you listen to the Selma Blair interview, you will hear the undulating sound of her voice, which is likely a vocal tremor. Vocal tremor is common in people with SD, and occurs in about one third of people with SD.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Selma Blair calls it a “snowflake disease;” this is because MS is different in everyone who has it. While voice problems can occur, many people with MS have normal voices. Much more information about MS is available at the website of the National MS Society here.

It’s well worth your time to watch the Robin Robinson interview and read the Vanity Fair article.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a voice change, disorder, or difficulty, contact us, We want to hear your story, provide resources, and help in any way we can.