Imagine if you were running out of time to say the things you wanted to say to those you loved? This is the reality for people with MND, but there’s an important strategy for saving some of those messages – and we all need to know about it…
Message Banking is simply a term used to describe the practice of saving voice recordings of a person who is losing the ability to speak. This means that after the person can no longer produce speech on their own, they will have a collection of sound files which can be used to keep their voice around – such a comforting and powerful way to make alternative communication feel even better.
Once the sound files are saved, and when the time comes, they can be used with communication software like The Grid or TobiiDynavox Communicator, or even some apps, to allow the person to press a button, which will play that file – so their laugh, a certain whistle, a special phrase, a loved one’s name – anything they have recorded, can be played aloud by the software.
There are some important tips to remember:
You never know when you’ll lose the ablity to speak clearly and loudly enough to make these recordings. It may feel like a difficult thing to acknowledge, but the sooner you can record these sounds, the better it will be in the long run.
Use a high quality recorder
The better quality the recordings, the clearer they will be when played through your communication software. Make sure there is no background noise, and that you’re using a good quality microphone. The format of the recordings doesn’t matter too much – they can always be converted to a compatible format for the communication software if necessary. There are high quality voice recorders available, but even your iPhone will do if nothing else!
Make a backup of your recordings
Ensure that you have a back up, of a back up, of a back up! It would be devastating to spend time recording your important messages, only for a technical glitch, theft, fire etc. to lose them.
What to say?
John Costello is a Speech Therapist at the Boston Childrens’ Hospital, and he and his team compiled a list of phrases that people with MND might want to record. It is just a list of ideas, prompts – of course your list will be very personal and up to you what to record, but you might find these ideas helpful.
Don’t worry about the technical stuff
All you need to do, as soon as possible, is get the recordings started while the person can still talk. How to get theses messages onto communication software, (what IS communication software?), how the person will manage to access and control that software when they have lost physical ability – all these are questions which we can assist with.
If you would like advice on any aspect of Message Banking, please feel free to give us a call.