FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is SpeechEasy?
- Who developed SpeechEasy?
- How does it work?
- How long has SpeechEasy been around?
- What shell styles of SpeechEasy are available?
- Which shell style is best?
- How do I know SpeechEasy will fit my ear?
- What are the additional memories for and why would I need them?
- How is SpeechEasy programmed?
- How effective is SpeechEasy?
- What evidence is there of the fluency enhancing effects of DAF and FAF?
- Is there scientific evidence to support the long-term benefits of SpeechEasy?
- Will SpeechEasy cure stuttering?
- Do the effects of SpeechEasy wear off?
- Is SpeechEasy an alternative to stuttering therapy?
- Is the SpeechEasy FDA approved?
- Can children benefit from wearing a SpeechEasy?
- Can the SpeechEasy help with any other disability or impairment?
- Are there people I can talk with who use the device?
- How do I get a SpeechEasy device?
- What cost is associated with obtaining a SpeechEasy device?
- Why do I need a hearing evaluation?
- How long will it be until I receive my custom SpeechEasy device?
- What if I purchase a SpeechEasy, but I am not satisfied with the benefits?
- How do I pay for SpeechEasy?
SpeechEasy is a small and inconspicuous fluency-enhancing device for people who stutter. It is a fully portable prosthetic device that is worn in or behind one of the client’s ears.
The patent behind SpeechEasy comes from research conducted within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. East Carolina University has licensed the right to distribute SpeechEasy to Janus Development Group, Inc. - the marketer and manufacturer of the SpeechEasy device within the United States.
For years, it has been known that when people who stutter speak the same material in unison with another speaker, they become more fluent. This is known as the ‘Choral Speech Effect’. By allowing the client to hear his or her own voice with a pitch shift and a slight time delay, SpeechEasy creates the illusion of another speaker speaking at the same time. This is achieved through a combination of Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF) and Frequency Altered Feedback (FAF). Using DAF allows the client to hear his or her own voice with a slight delay, similar to an echo. FAF allows the client to hear his or her own voice with a shift in the pitch. The combination of DAF and FAF is referred to as Altered Auditory Feedback (AAF). The brain perceives this AAF as someone different speaking along with the person who stutters therefore creating the Choral Speech Effect.
The first SpeechEasy prototypes were received in April 2001. Sales of SpeechEasy began in June 2001. Currently there are over 12000 clients in the US.
SpeechEasy comes in four shell styles. The Behind-The-Ear (BTE-V) is an external device that fits over the ear and attaches to a mold that fits in the ear. This is the largest and most durable of the devices. The second is an In-The-Canal (ITC-V) style. This style fits in the ear canal and is relatively inconspicuous, with the outer shell visible in the ear. The ITC comes standard with an external volume control. The third style is the Completely-In-Canal (CIC-V), which sits completely in the ear canal. It is the most inconspicuous. The fourth style is our most popular and called Comfort Fit (CF-V). It is worn behind the ear but is much smaller than the BTE model.
There are different advantages associated with each shell style. The client and the SpeechEasy Provider will discuss the options during the evaluation and determine which style is most appropriate. The size and shape of your ear and ear canal may also play a part in determining the best style for you.
Each SpeechEasy device is custom fit to each individual. The Comfort Fit style does not require an ear impression taken by an Audiologist but the others do.
The additional memories enable a client to switch between predefined FAF and DAF combinations. Most often clients will opt to set one memory on 0 delay and 0 frequency shift to allow sound to pass through unmodified when they are not speaking. This reduces the need for clients to remove the device from their ear when not speaking. Another application would be for clients that may need different setups for different environments. For example, some clients find the setup of a 75ms delay time useful under normal conditions, but may need a longer delay when speaking publicly. Our memory options allow you to switch from one memory to another and an audible tone will identify the memory for the client.
Our trained Providers program SpeechEasy by using a computer and special programming software. DAF, FAF and volume can be programmed for each memory setting.
Empirical data collected from thousands of clients shows that the vast majority of those who have tried the device have shown a marked improvement in their fluency level. This level of fluency improvement varies for each individual client, and depends on a number of internal and external factors.
Ten years of scientific research conducted at Dalhousie University and East Carolina University have shown that the use of DAF and FAF can significantly enhance fluency levels in a variety of situations including reading, monologue, using the telephone and speaking in front of an audience. This research has been published in top scientific journals.
SpeechEasy has more independent research findings concerning its short and long term use than any fluency device available today.
SpeechEasy is NOT a cure for stuttering. There is no known cure for stuttering. We compare using the device to wearing glasses. The effects are present while the device is in use and absent upon removal of the device. Some clients report ‘carry-over’ fluency, meaning that their fluency persists for some time after removal of SpeechEasy.
As with traditional therapy, the effects of the SpeechEasy can depend on the efforts supplied by the client. Some clients will have to use little to no effort to achieve fluency with the device while others may need to employ speech therapy techniques (in conjunction with the device) to receive the maximum benefit. When the device is used correctly the fluency effects will be ongoing and long lasting.
SpeechEasy may be viewed as an alternative or adjunct to stuttering therapy. Some clients require no further training when using SpeechEasy while others require minimal training. People who have learned traditional therapy techniques and employ them when using SpeechEasy report much higher levels of fluency enhancement and more natural sounding speech when using SpeechEasy. Our integrated approach to stuttering management includes our own helpful workbook and SLP involvement used in conjunction with the added benefits of SpeechEasy.
SpeechEasy has been designated as “an air conduction anti-stammering device” and assigned to device FDA Class I. It is among those devices exempted from premarket notification [510(k)] and is not subject to premarket approval (PMA). SpeechEasy is registered and in full compliance with FDA general controls, requirements, and regulations.
Yes, in some instances children can benefit from wearing a SpeechEasy device. As with any client, no matter what the age, there are factors that play a part in how much benefit can be gained. Some characteristics to consider when looking at if someone is appropriate for SpeechEasy are: maturity, responsibility, motivation and previous therapy received.
SpeechEasy was developed for use in decreasing stuttering. However, many individuals with concurrent disabilities or impairments in addition to stuttering have been evaluated for the device. Benefit is variable and is dependent on many factors. SpeechEasy has been used in treatment of some individuals for certain symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, Tourettes Syndrome and Autism. The only way to find out for sure if benefits can be gained is to be evaluated by a SpeechEasy Provider.
Due to privacy issues we cannot and will not share any personal SpeechEasy client information. However, we have many clients who have graciously volunteered and given us permission to share their stories with others. We have some of those posted on our YouTube channel, Face Book page, in newsletters and in-person testimonials at professional educational conventions.
The first step is to schedule an evaluation with one of our Providers. The process consists of a stuttering evaluation, followed by testing and demonstration of the SpeechEasy under various settings and during different speech tasks. Each evaluation typically takes between 2 to 3 hours.
Your Provider will charge for their services. These fees vary depending on your Provider office policy and location. The charge for the actual SpeechEasy device ranges from $2500 to $4500 depending on the model you choose. Two states (CA and IL) also have an applicable sales tax.
SpeechEasy is not a hearing aid and is not designed or intended to compensate for a hearing loss. The hearing evaluation is recommended and will help in determining which ear is most appropriate for a SpeechEasy device. If a hearing evaluation indicates a loss in one or both ears, your provider will discuss your options for using a SpeechEasy.
It typically takes 7-10 business days for Janus Development Group, Inc. to manufacture your device once it is received. Once completed, we ship it to your Provider for a final fitting.
We feel confident that SpeechEasy is a revolutionary product, and to this end we offer a 60-day money back guarantee on all SpeechEasy devices. 60 days of receiving your device that SpeechEasy is not for you-for any reason- you may return you undamaged device to your SpeechEasy provider for a refund, less 10% of the MSRP price.
SpeechEasy is purchased through Janus Development Group, so any payment for a Speecheasy device needs to made to Janus Development. There are many payment options including approved check, major credit card and the SpeechEasy Pay Plan upon approval. Funding sources also include some government agencies such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Veterans Affairs. There are other funding sources and we would be glad to discuss those with you.