In this article, we will go over the following:
- What is digital voice preservation (voice and message banking)?
- How to get started
- What to do when you are finished recording
- How to use your banked voice and messages
What is digital voice preservation?
Many pALS experience changes in their communication due to weakening of their mouth, throat, or breathing muscles. Communication apps and devices that use computer synthesized speech, often called speech generating devices (SGD) or alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), are available to support communication. Voice banking and message banking are two ways to digitally record your voice for possible use with AAC before significant changes occur to how you sound.
How to get started with digital voice preservation
For help with digital voice preservation or voice and message banking, talk to your primary speech language pathologist (SLP). Consider contacting Team Gleason by filling out their assistance form online for additional information and help with the cost of voice banking. If you are a veteran, check with the Veteran’s Administration.
More information on voice and message banking can be found at these pages:
- Team Gleason – Team Gleason helps with equipment and funding to pay for voice banking and partner with Boston Children’s Hospital to provide instruction/expertise on banking.
- Voice Preservation – Boston Children’s Hospital – General information on voice preservation from the originators of Message Banking
- Jay S Fishman ALSAugComProgram – YouTube – Video tutorials on voice banking, message banking on your iPhone, and AAC app walkthroughs from the Boston Children’s Hospital ALS Augmentative Communication Program
- An Overview of Voice and Message Banking for People Living with ALS – YouTube – Les Turner ALS Foundation video tutorial and info on voice and message banking
What to do when you are finished recording
Each person’s goals for digital voice preservation are different. If you feel you are done recording, you may choose to check in with your SLP to ensure that you are not missing any steps. If you can back up your recordings, you may choose to do so and keep track of where you saved your backups.
If you have done voice and/or message banking, keep track of the following information:
- Name of the voice banking service (Acapela MOV, The Voice Keeper, ModelTalker, etc)
- Login and password for the voice banking service and/or www.mymessagebanking.com
- Funding source for voice banking. (Did you apply to Team Gleason or the VA to pay for your voice?)
If you finished voice and/or message banking but can’t remember what you did:
- Search your email for “Team Gleason” “Acapela” “Thevoicekeeper” “modeltalker” “speakunique” or “Tobii Dynavox.” You may be able to figure out which organization(s) you have contacted related to voice and message banking.
- If you don’t remember the password for any account, go to the website and on the login page, look for a “forgot your password?” or “password reset” link.
How to use your banked voice and messages
Keep in mind that the method you use for recording your voice is not the same as how you use the recordings and custom synthesized voice. You will need a compatible communication app or device to use the voice or recordings.
If you are concerned about your speech, voice, or communication, contact your clinic, SLP, and/or medical professional. They can provide individualized guidance and may refer you to an SLP for additional evaluation such as an alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) evaluation. At an AAC evaluation, make sure you share that you banked your voice and/or messages.
Once you have a compatible AAC app or device, you will need to follow the procedures for your device or app to load your voice and/or messages. The SLP who recommended the AAC app or device for you, the AAC app or device company’s website or representative, or Team Gleason are possible resources for more help. For voice banking, you will need to either request that the organization funding your voice (such as Team Gleason) request your voice file for you, or you will need to go on the voice banking service site to purchase the voice yourself.
Note that the Susan Mast ALS Foundation will no longer have a speech language pathologist on staff and this post is presented for general informational purposes only. Jim’s Voice program updates are here. Please direct individual questions and concerns to your own medical team, which may include your neurologist, speech language pathologist, ALS clinic, physician, and other professionals.