The Use of Altered Speech Feedback in Stuttering Management

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Re: Pragmatic Questions

From: Greg
Date: 10/8/02
Time: 8:45:33 AM
Remote Name:


Hi Gunars--the psychology doctoral student,

To pragmatically answer your questions:

1) No. A prosthetic device won’t “make” you “normal.” A prosthetic device only offers a reduction in stuttering frequency; it lowers your stuttering baseline so-to-speak. Thus, there will still be stuttering moments (or behaviors) every now-and-then—they will just happen less often. How you react to the remaining stuttering behaviors (i.e., secondary stuttering behaviors) depends on the individual. An argument could be made suggesting that severity isn’t the frequency of stuttered events, but instead the extent that secondary stuttering behaviors accompany stuttering events. In a very real sense, the problems associated with stuttering are within the realm of individual or personalized semantics, and are basically impossible to answer (with common acceptance). Furthermore, the whole concept of “normality” is subjective…and a prosthetic probably won’t change a prejudice of normality.

2) There hasn’t been enough peer-reviewed data between different altered-speech-feedback products for me to form an educated opinion. All I can say is that altered-speech-feedback (altered auditory feedback) has a lengthy research history of reducing stuttering severity across many different speaking conditions. If you’re in the market for a prosthetic device, I would only consider using those employing the ASF phenomenon. Others, not employing the ASF phenomenon, are not recommended. I would suggest specifically asking manufacturers questions like, “What kind of altered speech feedback does your prosthetic use?” If they don’t immediately answer with “delayed auditory feedback”, or “frequency altered feedback” … I would search elsewhere.

3) I can’t answer #3 because there isn’t enough data to responsibly answer #2.

Last changed: September 12, 2005