Stuttering is a speech disorder or communication disorder that affects children between the age of two and six, which they typically outgrow during their developmental stages. A few children continue to stutter even after the age of six, who are then treated by speech therapists to improve their stuttering. Stuttering in adults is uncommon, and it affects nearly 1% of the adult population throughout the world. Though speech therapy helps them improve stuttering, most of them advised using an anti-stuttering device.
What is an Anti-Stuttering Device?
It is an electronic speech device or a stuttering device that helps to improve stuttering speech in adults. The device is worn in your ear which allows you to communicate confidently and efficiently. An anti-stuttering device works on altered auditory feedback. There are two types of AAF:
- Pitch-shifting frequency-altered auditory feedback is an AAF that immediately reduces stuttering at almost 70% normal speaking rates by inducing speech motor changes.
- Delayed auditory feedback also reduces stuttering by 70%. It does not need training, abnormally slow speech, or mental effort. Once the device is removed, it carries around 55% fluency without speech therapy.
Altered auditory feedback, when used in a device, helps to reduce stuttering and improve speech as well as confidence.
More About Delayed Auditory Feedback
Delayed auditory feedback is also called delayed sidetone. It is a kind of altered auditory feedback that comprises spreading the time between auditory perception and speech. In a device, delayed auditory feedback enables you to speak normally, and hear yourself through the device a fraction of a second later. It helps to enhance the fluency of speech in people who stutter.
How Does a Delayed Auditory Feedback Anti-Stuttering Device Work?
A delayed auditory feedback or DAF device can be used in two ways. The delay in hearing the voice can be set anywhere between 50 and 70 milliseconds. At this range, stuttering is reduced by 70% without mental effort, training, or abnormal-sounding speech, and at a normal speaking rate.
What is DAF Therapy?
A DAF anti-stuttering device is also used to improve fluency, especially at shaping slow speech with stretched vowels. For this purpose, the delay is set at 200 milliseconds initially and slowly reduced to shorter delays. The shorter delays of 75 milliseconds are reached over the course of the therapy program when noticeable effects can be seen.
A DAF device is best used under the guidance of an expert speech-language pathologist, especially to train the stutter to improve fluency. A slow-speaking test will help understand the progress. The device works efficiently when the patient can speak a slow-speaking speech with 100% fluency. A pathologist can test for improvements giving a simple speaking task to change the delay from 200 milliseconds to 75 milliseconds and gradually reduce the dependency on the device.
The goal of the DAF therapy is to increase the stress of the speaking situation and increase the complexity and length of the speech. It is used to support fluent speech. It also aims at reducing the need for the DAF device by reducing the occurrence of stutter in the speech.