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Effects of Group Singing on Vocal Production in Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

Effects of Group Singing on Vocal Production in Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

Session 1

Presenter Name:Elizabeth Earle

School/Affiliation:Ryerson University

Co-Authors:Arla Good, Esztella Vezer, Sean Gilmore, Frank Russo


Vocal production is impaired in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease affecting the muscles of the body. Deficits in vocal production in PD have received considerably less research attention than the primary symptoms of the disease despite having a substantial effect on quality of life. Increasingly, researchers are discovering singing as a way of strengthening vocal muscles, resulting in improved voice quality and speech production. The present study investigated the impact of a group singing intervention on vocal production in individuals living with PD. Prior to and immediately following a 13-week singing program, vocal testing included a range of vocal-acoustic measures, including lowest and highest achievable pitch, duration of phonation, loudness, jitter, and shimmer. Acoustic features were analyzed using Praat speech analysis software. Results showed that group singing significantly improved some, though not all measures of vocal quality. These findings support group singing as a potential viable intervention for vocal production deficits associated with PD. Moreover, when structured as a community-focused and non-threatening activity, singing tends to be highly enjoyable for most participants, thereby increasing the likelihood of intervention adherence.

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