Interestingly, many of these same changes to voice can occur in older healthy adults due to many of the same physiologic changes in their breathing and voice system. When chronic voice problems like hoarseness are due to age related changes, the clinical diagnosis used by the Ear Nose and Throat doctor (ENT), is presbylarynx. With PD and presbylarynx, other contributors to voice changes include: medications which may dry the mucosal surfaces, chronic acid reflux, chronic pulmonary problems such as COPD, asthma or emphysema, and hearing loss.
The first step to management of these problems should always be an examination by an ENT to rule out any other reason for voice changes. The second step should be to embark on a voice strengthening program, which will likely include: vocal function exercises, respiratory support exercises, stretches and range of motion exercises to activate the extensor muscles of the upper body and to support posture, and vocal hygiene education.
A program of regular physical conditioning along with vocal function exercises can benefit individuals with voice changes related to Parkinson's Disease as well as older adults wishing to maintain good vocal functioning into old age.
Voice Aerobics(TM) is a guided program, affordable and easy to follow, incorporating many of the strategies mentioned above.