A little device that is helping people with a stutter speak easy

Published: Jun. 20, 2013 at 8:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2013 at 12:31 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - "The device has helped from the first day I put it on."

Military veteran Rustem Jumani is talking about the Speech Easy device. He says it changed his life, and has helped with his stuttering.

"Since I was five or six, I dealt with stuttering and I did not know the severity until I got older," Jumani said.

Local speech Pathologist Sharon Hite says stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions.

Stuttering affects 1-in-100 people, and four times as many males than females, according to Hite.

Hite says Speech Easy, which looks like a small hearing aid worn in the ear, is changing the way people affected by this disorder speak.

"It sounds like someone is speaking with them and it has been a known phenomenon for decades that helps people speak more fluently," said Hite.

When a person wearing Speech Easy talks, it delays what they say by a millisecond and changes the frequency before sending it back to their ears.

Hite says the device is not a cure but a speech aid, and works for some but not for everybody.

"If it helps a person right away that's great, but if it helps them some then we recommend they go to therapy," Hite said.

For patients like Jumani the results have been positive.

"Now I feel comfortable going into job interviews and stressful situations," he says.

"You're not alone and there's a lot of things that can be done", said Hite.

The Speech Easy device can run up to $4,000 and is covered by only a few insurance companies.

Hite says the VA and centers like Vocational Rehabilitation offer funding for those that qualify.

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