Fluency Enhancing Devices

Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center has certified SpeechEasy providers who work with Janus Developmental Group, Inc. to dispense the SpeechEasy device. This device uses delayed auditory feedback and frequency altered feedback to enhance fluent speech production. Below you'll find the answers to many questions commonly asked about the SpeechEasy. You may also want to refer to the SpeechEasy website at  www.speecheasy.com. 

How does the SpeechEasy Device help people who stutter? 
What is altered auditory feedback? 
Will it work for me? 
Does insurance cover this?
What models are available?
Are there other fluency enhancing devices?

How does the SpeechEasy Device help people who stutter? 
The device uses auditory altered feedback to create the choral effect, or the perception that one is speaking in unison with others. Choral speaking has long been a method used in therapy to increase fluency or decrease stuttering.

What is altered auditory feedback? 
The technology employed by the SpeachEasy Device uses two types of altered auditory feedback. One is delayed auditory feedback: a delay in the auditory signal picked up by the device, much like the delay heard on a overseas phone connection. The other is frequency altered feedback: changing the pitch of the voice to either a higher or lower frequency. When the delay and frequency are altered, the choral effect is created. This allows the speaker wearing the device to feel as though s/he is speaking in unison with someone else (choral speech). For an unknown reason, almost all people who stutter are fluent when they speak in unison with others.

Will it work for me?
The typical evaluation is completed in 3 hours. The SLP will assess speech abilities, discuss the device and how it works, try the device with with you to determine best placement (which ear) and settings. Then you would wear the demo device into the community for about 30 - 45 minute trial to see how it works in real life situations. After that, you will meet with the clinician who will reassess your speech and discuss your experiences with the device and whether or not the device is appropriate for you. Recommendation of the device is based on the results of the evaluation and your achievement of certain objective and subjective measures; specifically, at least a 50% reduction in the frequency of stuttering, realistic expectations, and ability to tolerate the device.

SpeechEasy & Parkinson's Disease
The SpeechEasy device is now available for people who have Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The device can increase fluency, and intelligibility for PD patients. Evaluations for a SpeechEasy device for a PD patient are 2 hours or less and will determine if the device may help the patient speak more clearly and fluently. 

Does insurance cover this?
The device is not typically covered by private insurance or by Medicaid/ Medicare. The evaluation is self-pay and cost averages $350-$375. (Often, SpeechEasy will offer rebate coupons on their website to cover a portion of the evaluation cost.) The Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) has approved coverage for the evaluation and device and this may be an option if the client is 16 years or older. SpeechEasy also offers a 0% interest payment program. See their website for details and application form. www.speecheasy.com

The SpeechEasy Device
The new SpeechEasy devices (V Series) have greater range of delay, increased setting options of pitch changes, up to 3 memory settings, better sound quality and clarity, and memory setting change tones. These newer features being offered on all SpeechEasy devices are at no additional cost.

Other Fluency Enhancing Devices

Other devices exist to assist a person who stutters in producing fluent speech. Among these are delayed auditory feedback and/or masking machines, such as The Facilitator, the Fluency Master, Pocket Fluency, and the SpeechEasy. You can find more detailed information about these devices on the following websites: