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I've Never Been a Loud Person

Posted Jan 21 2010 6:20am

I shudder when I hear that L word.

Some of us with Parkinson’s think that "loud" is a four letter word. We perceive it as being angry, boorish, disrespectful, demanding, controlling, unpleasant, obnoxious, argumentative, and rude.

We want no part of being loud. We are the peacemakers of the planet, not the loud warriors of the world.

When my husband, Tom and I lived in Canada for 15 years, there was a stereotype of the Loud American. I never quite understood it. Then I observed an obese woman with curlers in her hair scream at her husband across the main street in peaceful, quiet (not loud) Banff in the Canadian Rockies. Now that was a Loud American.

When we finally got the nerve to tell our new Canadian friends that we were Americans, their reactions were always the same: “I can see how Kate might be an American – she is aggressive enough. But Tom – he can’t possibly be. He’s TOO NICE.”

Over the years, I quieted down, become nicer (but not too nice), and with Parkinson’s, no one would ever accuse me of being loud.

Last week, I met a retired university administrator of 35 years with Parkinson’s. He completed two rounds (32 sessions) of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT), and still couldn’t be heard. “I’ve never been a loud person,” he squeaked in a nearly inaudible voice.

This is something that the folks at LSVT may have overlooked when creating the mantra of “Think loud” for their voice treatment program.

I don’t want to think loud or to be loud. I’ve never been a loud person. My new voice and speech affirmations are “Think energetic” and “Think strong.”

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