Tuesday, June 12, 2012

iPhone app: MouthOff

MouthOff App
MouthOff app in iTunes (currently free)

What it is: Purely entertainment, and yet it has been the most used app on my work iPod lately. This app has 58 reactive cartoon mouths. You pick a mouth, hold your iPhone or iPod Touch in front of your mouth, and talk (laugh, scream, whatever). The mouth moves in reaction to the sounds you make... or in reaction to any noise in a room, so in a loud room the mouths will move a lot. But in a quieter room it will match movements to your sound and make it look like the cartoon mouth is doing your talking.

How we can use it in Tx: For the most part, I use it for motivation, and frankly, to de-crabbify even the most annoyed nurses or CNAs at my SNF. This can make every person laugh out loud with delight. Sometimes the tasks we do with our patients are tedious... especially when it comes to mostly OMEs or airway protection exercises... this can just make it fun. But, being that it reacts to sound--and the louder the sound the bigger the reaction--it CAN be used for Tx with voice patients to work on volume and duration mostly. As such, it can be used much like the bla | bla | bla sound-reactive app I discuss in a previous post (see the bla | bla | bla post from 3/11/11) which lately I've been using with an MS patient with some great results.

Goals we can target with this app: I'm sticking with motivation building as an important goal (if not one I actually write for a pt); also voice, dysarthria, phonation, intonation and prosody with, for example, MS or PD patients.

Some specific examples: I think you'll see that everyone gets a kick out of this. Lately I've been walking into pts' rooms with this app in front of my mouth and just giving them a giggle before we get started. But here's a couple more ideas.

1. Play with one of the cartoon mouths with the pt to determine its maximum reaction (open mouth or tongue out, or whatever else it may be for the particular cartoon). Then have the pt look at the screen and repeat words trying to get the maximum response to either each syllable or to the stressed syllable. Write a goal for % volume at word or syllable level.

2. A more amusing variation on the first suggestion: have the pt do the same but instead of looking at the screen watching the mouth, have them hold the device in front of their own mouth in front of a mirror.

3. I feel this app can come in handy for OMEs... but I haven't quite put my finger on how yet. It'll come to me later this week I'm sure.