At Granite Bay Speech, we are seeing more and more veterans who need treatment for stuttering. We’ve found the most effective therapy for them is a combination of our standard techniques and some exciting new technology.
Many military men and women stationed in a war zone return home with what is known as neurogenic stuttering – a type of stuttering that comes on suddenly in adults who had never stuttered before. For veterans, the cause is usually head trauma or brain injury. Other causes of neurogenic stuttering include strokes, tumors and Parkinson’s disease. Whatever the reason, the fluency centers in the brains of these patients have been damaged, and the speaker may have difficulty producing words without a struggle.
These are some of the symptoms of neurogenic stuttering, from the Stuttering Foundation of America:
- Excessive interruptions, such as interjections and revisions
- Repetition of phrases, words and parts of words
- Hesitation and pauses in unexpected locations
- Cessation of speech in mid-word
- Extraneous sounds while speaking
- Rapid, unintelligible bursts of speech
- Extraneous movements of lips, jaw or tongue while speaking
In helping our veterans, we still use our proven speech therapy techniques, such as simplifying speech, slowing the speech rate and relaxing the posture, but now we also offer treatment with a new electronic device we’ve found to be extremely effective for this type of stuttering.
The SpeechEasy is a small instrument that looks similar to a hearing aid, and, in fact, it is worn in the ear. But instead of amplifying sound, the SpeechEasy alters sounds so you hear your own voice at a slight delay and different pitch.
Most people who stutter can sing or speak in unison with others with little or no stuttering, a phenomenon known as the “choral effect.” The SpeechEasy device mimics that effect by creating a “chorus” with the patient’s own voice. As the patient talks, it sounds to his brain as if he is speaking in unison with another person.
The results for this device have been outstanding. It was found that stutterers were able to maintain the fluency they achieved with the device even when they weren’t wearing it. This indicates the brain has been able to change permanently, and it works for people of all ages who stutter.
The device comes in four sizes and styles, all of them nearly invisible in the ear, and their prices are similar to the cost of a hearing aid. For veterans, the Veterans Association covers the costs of therapy and devices for stuttering acquired as a result of military service.
Of course, the SpeachEasy isn’t only for veterans. If you think the device could benefit you, veteran or not, make an appointment to talk to us about this new technology for improving your speech.