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Clinical Insights Into the Use of Speech Amplification Devices for Managing Hypophonia: Interviews With Speech-Language Pathologists.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to identify themes regarding considerations in the usage of speech amplification device usage for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) and hypophonia from the perspective of speech-language pathologists (SLPs).

METHOD: Eligible participants included SLPs currently practicing in the United States or Canada with experience working with clients with PD for at least 2 years. Ten SLPs participated in 60-min interviews conducted via Zoom. A semistructured interview guide was created prior to the interviews. The interviews were transcribed following their completion, and an iterative coding process was used to identify themes using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Three main themes were identified from the interviews. The first theme encapsulated how clinicians described amplification devices as a potential treatment tool, which highlighted the nuances that may impact selecting an amplification device as a treatment option such as increased hypophonia or dysarthria severity and cognitive decline. The second theme highlighted how device selection depends on the individual needs of the user. Individual client characteristics (such as disease symptoms and individual needs and preferences) may impact the choice of amplification device. The last theme outlined the importance of involving family members in all stages of device use and involving other health care team members on a case-by-case basis.

CONCLUSIONS: The insights provided by the SLP participants help to understand the clinical decisions that are made when determining device candidacy, selecting a device, and evaluating device success. These insights can be used to improve research studies of augmentative management of hypophonia and guide more personalized management decisions.

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