The impact of singing on speech production of people with moderate to severe-stage Alzheimer's disease

Ayelet Dassa, Dorit Amir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Singing as a music therapy intervention for people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is well-documented, however research investigating its impact on language abilities is sparse. This study addressed the issue of language decline in AD and explored the impact of group singing on the language abilities of people with moderate to severe-stage AD. Participants were randomized to experimental (n=16) or wait-list control groups (n=14). The experimental group received eight music therapy group sessions (twice weekly), which focused on singing, while both groups received the same 'standard care' nursing home recreational activities. Data analysis included pre-post picture description tests. A significant difference was demonstrated between the groups in the proportion of non-coherent speech in relation to total speech used by participants. The experimental group did not exhibit a deterioration in coherent speech, while the control group exhibited an increase in non-coherent speech in proportion to the total speech used by participants. Data analysis also included an examination of speech parameters throughout the music therapy experimental group sessions. Repeated measures indicated that participants in the experimental group showed an improvement in speech parameters as well as in their ability to sing. These preliminary results may indicate that singing as part of a music therapy treatment plan for people with AD can play a significant role in preserving speech, which may enhance conversation capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
JournalMusic & Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021

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  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Group singing
  • Language abilities
  • Music therapy
  • Speech


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