Music Helps Stroke Victims Regain Speech through Choir
In Hong Kong, a place where speech therapy services are incredibly limited, a charity project helps stroke victims regain speech. Through a choir led by music therapists, stroke survivors meet two hours a week.
The choir started in July, but the members, all of whom are stroke survivors struggling with speech issues, have seen improvements in their speech. The project received funding through last year’s Operation Santa Claus Charity drive, and those funds will cover the choir for the next three years.
In Hong Kong, there aren’t any local services to provide long-term speech therapy for stroke survivors. They do receive some rehab care when they are discharged from the hospital, but that fixed period of time often isn’t enough to get the survivor to where the need to be in terms of speech ability or confidence.
Singing works because the stroke survivors find it easier than speaking. It involves more areas of the brain that survivors are likely to still be able to access. Singing even helps the survivors communicate emotions they may otherwise struggle with.
Ultimately, this choir therapy fills a void in Hong Kong, where speech services are limited. But two hours a week won’t be enough for many stroke survivors to completely regain their speech.
However, using telespeech therapy could continue to help fill the void, by allowing a smaller number of speech therapists to work with a larger number of clients. Because speech therapy doesn’t require the therapist and the patient to be in the same room at the same time, it’s a great way for stroke survivors to receive the care they need, from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
According to the Hong Kong Stroke Fund, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Hong Kong. About 68 people suffer from either a new or recurrent stroke every day.