Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), also called delayed sidetone, is a type of altered auditory feedback that consists of extending the time between speech and auditory perception. It can consist of a device that enables a user to speak into a microphone and then hear his or her voice in headphones a fraction of a second later. DAF has been shown to induce fluency in many individuals who stutter, though not all stutterers experience enhanced fluency by this technique.

How Delayed Auditory Feedback Works

DAF can be used in two, very different ways. The delay can be between 50 and 70 milliseconds to reduce stuttering by 70% at a normal speaking rate, without training, mental effort, or abnormal-sounding speech.

It can also be used to support the fluency shaping target of slow speech with stretched vowels. For this purpose, the delay is usually set at 200 milliseconds and then reduced to shorter delays (as short as 75 milliseconds) over the course of the therapy program. A speech-language pathologist must train the stutterer in this second method. To begin, the stutterer is given a simple speaking task, such as speaking to ten using the slow speech method. After this is completed, the stutterer may then use a DAF device.

Goals of DAF Therapy

DAF therapy has two goals:

  • To increase the length and complexity of the utterance and increase the stress of the speaking situation, while using the DAF device to support on-target fluent speech.
  • To reduce the need for the DAF device, until the stutterer no longer needs the device.

For the first goal, after the stutterer can count to ten using the slow-speech target correctly, the patient will then use the DAF device to have a conversation at the same slow speaking rate. When the stutterer can achieve the slow speech target with 100% fluency using the DAF devices for normal conversations, the stutterer should then apply what they learned in the clinic to the outside world. Using the device during stressful situations and achieving fluency and on target (slow) conversation is the goal.

After the first goal is achieved, the stutterer will start to gradually reduce dependence on the device. Decreasing the delay and increasing the speaking rate. If there are any dysfluencies that persist, the stutterer should go back to longer delay and slower speaking rate. Lowering the volume and using the device in one ear instead of both can also be a way to slowly rely less on the DAF.

To learn more about Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF) and SpeechEasy’s innovative technology that can be used to reduce stuttering, call us today at (252) 551-9042 or visit our website here to learn more. You are not alone!

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