The following information was extracted from a post on February 27, 2003, to the closed mailing list, SID#4 by Rick Merson, Ph.D., Speech-Language Pathology Department at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. It is shared below with permission of the author.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Fluency Master and the SpeechEasy

I'm very pleased to have biofeedback devices as a part of my practice. I am more pleased to have NSA support many of our activities . I am very pleased to have SFA out there promoting SLP care ...I am proud of ASHA's efforts to facilitate our specialty division....

I will say that with all biofeedback devices ( i.e. Kehoe's DAF Unit, Shames Unit, the PaceMaster, Edinbugh Masker, Computer DAF software, the Fluency Master, the SpeechEasy etc.), traditional individual-treatment, group treatment, support groups, serious counseling, and intensive programs ...remain the most important part of fluency treatment for children and adults who stutter. Nothing , to date, replaces good speech pathology assessment, good treatment, persistent long term patient efforts and that includes the work of NSA and all its activities.

The Fluency Master

The Fluency Master delivers a frequency-altered-feedback with a slight delay. The FM's designed in the mid to late 90's do not have an adjustment for alternative DAF's or FAF's . You take what you get. It fits behind the ear with a microphone taped to the mastoid and an earmold in your ear.

If you respond to auditory feedback sidetone.....this can and in my experience does work quite well for some patients. ( my experience about 25-30% of PWS that I fit). I still have clients you use their FM and they're going on 5 to 6 years.

What's Good

  1. FM is cheaper...est.. $2300-2500
  2. easy to fit ... Fits behind ear, not in the ear
  3. you can adjust the loudness.
What's BAD
  1. Fits behind the ear and visible.......
  2. Has only one pre-set DAF and FAF at present.
  3. I'm not impressed with, contracts.
  4. If DAF doesn't work for you don't do it.
  5. If you are not willing to practice don't do it.
The SpeechEasy

My experience.....of all the PWS I have assessed with the SpeechEasy ( 70 ), approximately 90% get stuttering reductions. That's only half the story. In my practice only 33% are great candidates for the SpeechEasy for I which I give a strong recommendation. Many choose to buy one against my recommendations...

What's good

  1. It's in the ear or completely in the canal.
  2. It is software driven and can be custom fit to individual sensory needs with regards to DAF and FAF and GAIN. Acoustic parameters can be changed.
  3. The SE chip is excellent and the quality of the acoustic signal is the best available in my opinion.
  4. It is barely visible.....not invisible...but nicely hidden.
  5. You get a 30 day trial with 90% refund.
What's BAD:
  1. It is very pricey! $4000 to 5000.
  2. If you can't handle an in the ear device don't do it.
  3. If DAF doesn't work for you don't do it.
  4. If you are not willing to practice don't do it.

added February 28, 2003