What is SpeechEasy?
SpeechEasy is a device and treatment tool that has been shown to decrease stuttering and enhance fluency in many people who stutter. Additional benefits may include a decrease in secondary characteristics such as facial contortions and eye movements while using the SpeechEasy device.
The SpeechEasy device resembles a small hearing aid and fits almost unnoticed inside the ear. It mimics the choral speech effect by providing both altered frequency feedback as well as delayed auditory feedback, to help decrease disfluencies.
Those people who find the SpeechEasy device to enhance fluency, find themselves more comfortable speaking in situations where people stutter the most, such as; when meeting new people, giving a group presentation, talking on the phone, or ordering food in a restaurant.
The device is most commonly used by adults but has shown benefits in children. The SpeechEasy device can also be used by people who have poor intelligibility due to Parkinson’s disease. The use of the device in conjunction with speech-language pathology sessions has been shown to help people with Parkinson’s disease speak more clearly.
How the device uses the choral speech effect
Research shows that when someone who stutters speaks in unison with another person, there are fewer instances of disfluencies. The SpeechEasy device uses the choral speech effect by providing the person who stutters with a simulation that is similar to having someone speaking along with the person wearing the device.
How the device uses altered auditory feedback
The SpeechEasy device uses both delayed auditory feedback (DAF) by delaying the auditory feedback that the person hears while wearing the device as well as frequency altered feedback (FAF). By playing a person’s voice back a fraction of a second later, and at a different pitch than the person’s own voice has been shown to help the person wearing the device improve fluency.
How do I know if a SpeechEasy device is right for me?
1. A free app is available at fluencycoach.com to see if altered auditory feedback helps decrease disfluencies.
2. The only way to learn for certain if the SpeechEasy will help enhance communicative effectiveness is to try it by making an appointment with one of our speech-language pathologist providers.
3. During the initial appointment, our SpeechEasy provider will conduct a fluency evaluation without the device to establish a baseline. Then, the provider will fit the device and make adjustments to the DAF and FAF to find the setting combination that provides the person who stutters with the best effect.
4. Recommendations for using the device along with specific fluency strategies will be made by the provider. Together, the provider and the person who stutters will determine if SpeechEasy is recommended.
5. People get the best effects from the SpeechEasy device when used in conjunction with traditional speech therapy techniques. However, those techniques are typically easier to implement when wearing the device.
Call Speech & Hearing Associates at (800) 742-7551 for more information or to schedule an appointment.