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Parkinson's Silenced His Voice. The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic Found a Solution.

Since 2003, Hal Meyer has suffered from the second-most prevalent brain disease in the U.S., Parkinson’s Disease. The Army veteran was forced to retire, and his disease progressed to the point that daily life was a grim prospective. 

Desperate for relief, he elected for deep brain stimulation surgery, but it had no effect on his autonomic system, which includes speech and swallowing. Fortunately, an appointment with the University of Utah’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic transformed Hal’s communication.

“I was having trouble swallowing, so I visited Brett Myers in the clinic,” he said. “He gave me techniques that helped improve it, but he also encouraged me to try SPEAK OUT! It’s been perfect.”

Hal Meyer

The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic is the only SPEAK OUT!® Therapy & Research Center in the state. The SPEAK OUT!® Therapy Program, developed by Parkinson Voice Project®, helps people with Parkinson's regain and retain their speech and swallowing. The program combines education for the patient and family, individual speech therapy, daily home practice using workbooks, flashcards, and online practice sessions, along with weekly speech groups, and regular re-evaluations.

Better yet, it’s all available online. Across eight one-on-one sessions on Zoom, patients learn exercises from the SLP Clinic’s expert practitioners and graduate students, and they continue in group sessions on a weekly basis.

Hal started with SPEAK OUT! sessions in 2022 and has worked in the group sessions ever since. Graduate students lead the regular virtual sessions which include games, friendly competitions and reading exercises.

“Doing it once a week really keeps my voice up,” he said. “The students are fantastic, they’re very motivating to us. I’ll keep working with the group as long as they keep doing the program.”

Before he started the therapy, Hal was having trouble ordering in restaurants, or speaking up loudly enough for his family and friends to understand him. Now he can communicate more clearly, so he can lead a Parkinson’s Support Group near his hometown in Tooele, Utah.

“I recommend SPEAK OUT! to all of our group members and three of us use their group therapy sessions,” he said.

With the combination of his surgery and voice therapy, Hal is back to living a fulfilling life and spending time with his five children and 16 grandchildren. He’s proof of the power of the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and its practitioners who change lives daily.

“It’s been well worth the effort. My motor symptoms are resolved, and my speech and swallowing have been improving quite a bit. The whole experience has been wonderful.”