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 Article of Interest - Speech & Language

Speech Easy Stutter Device
Detroit News Channel 7, Health, August 8, 2002

Three million people stutter in this country. This is a story about one of them. A young man who, after years of unsuccessful therapy, tried something new. A device that looks like a hearing aid now what comes out of his mouth is music to his ears.

It isn't easy for 18-year-old Jason Jacobs to watch himself talk.

The straight-A student has been stuttering as long as he can remember, but he doesn't stutter anymore.

Now Jason talks without much hesitation…and he talks a lot.

"You can talk to my parents. Yeah, I've been talking a lot more," Jason says.

That's because Jason wears a tiny ear piece with a powerful microchip. It's computer-programmed to provide "delayed-audible feedback". In other words, it lets Jason hear himself talk.

The device called Speech Easy works on the same principal as something called the Coral Reading Effect.

Dr. Joseph Stigora explains, "If a person who stutters reads out loud and has somebody else read along side of them out loud, they would be almost totally fluent."

Speech Easy acts like the person reading along side, but it's much more convenient.

"It's digital and it is just miniature. So when the person leaves the office, they put this in their ear and now they've got altered auditory feedback wherever they go," says Dr. Stigora.

Programming Speech Easy takes about two hours and the results are immediate.

"That's, I gotta' say, probably the first time in my life that I was able to hear my son speak a whole sentence without having any problems," John Jacobs says.

Jason, of course, couldn't wait to give his friends an earful.

"They're like, 'Holy cow, what happened to you,' ya' know? I just... it's incredible," says Jason.

Speech Easy is custom made for each person, so the results will vary. So far, it's been effective in up to 80 percent of stutterers. The Speech Easy device costs about $4,000. The device will be available in the Detroit area in the next few weeks.


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