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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
“Who developed SpeechEasy?” “How is SpeechEasy programmed?” “Are there people I can talk with who use the device?” These are just a few of the questions clients have regarding SpeechEasy. To help provide answers to some of the most often asked questions, we have compiled a FAQ for your reference. Simply click on the link below to learn more.
- 1.1 What is SpeechEasy?
- 1.2 Who developed SpeechEasy?
- 1.3 How does it work?
- 1.4 How long has SpeechEasy been around?
- 2.1 What shell styles of SpeechEasy are available?
- 2.2 Which shell style is best?
- 2.3 How do I know SpeechEasy will fit my ear?
- 2.4 What are the benefits of having an external volume control?
- 2.5 What is the second memory and why would I need it?
- 2.6 How is SpeechEasy programmed?
- 2.7 Do I need to wear a SpeechEasy device in both ears?
- 3.1 How effective is SpeechEasy?
- 3.2 What evidence is there of the fluency enhancing effects of DAF and FAF?
- 3.3 Is there scientific evidence to support the long-term benefits of SpeechEasy?
- 3.4 Will SpeechEasy cure stuttering?
- 3.5 Do the effects of SpeechEasy wear off?
- 3.6 Is SpeechEasy an alternative to stuttering therapy?
- 3.7 Is the SpeechEasy FDA approved?
- 3.8 Can children benefit from wearing a SpeechEasy?
- 3.9 Can the SpeechEasy help with any other disability or impairment?
- 3.10 Are there people I can talk with who use the device?
- 4.1 How do I get a SpeechEasy device?
- 4.2 What cost is associated with obtaining a SpeechEasy device?
- 4.3 Why do I need a hearing evaluation?
- 4.4 How long will it be until I receive my custom SpeechEasy device?
- 4.5 What if I purchase a SpeechEasy, but I am not satisfied with the benefits?
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 5000 clients in the US.
SpeechEasy comes in four shell styles. The Behind-The-Ear (BTE) 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) 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 all new Comfort Fit (CF), released August 1, 2007. This device is worn over the ear, and has extremely low visibility. The Comfort fit also comes standard with an external volume control. The fourth shell style is the Completely-In-Canal (CIC), which sits completely in the ear canal. It has the option of being ordered with an external volume control as an added feature. It is important to note that depending on the size of the ear canal itself, not all customers are candidates for CIC devices.
There are different advantages associated with each shell style. For those who want the device to be as inconspicuous as possible, the CF or the CIC are the best options. If added features and lower cost are preferred, the ITC may be the best choice. Finally there are times where dexterity and/or durability are the deciding factor and a BTE is the most suitable option. At the time of the evaluation, the client will see examples of each type of shell and with the help of the providing Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), will decide which shell is most appropriate for them. The size and shape of your ear and ear canal will also play a part in determining the best shell style for you.
Each SpeechEasy device is custom fit to an individual's ear canal. An Audiologist takes an ear mold impression and the device is custom made for an individual using the impression of his/her ear. The shape and size of your ear canal will help determine which shell style is most appropriate for you.
A SpeechEasy device fitted with an external volume control can be adjusted manually by the client without the intervention of a providing SLP. The added convenience of this feature can be extremely valuable in noisy situations.
The second memory enables a client to switch between two predefined FAF and DAF combinations. Most often clients will opt to set the second 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 dual memory option allows you to switch from one memory to the other to meet your needs.
Our trained SLPs program SpeechEasy by using a personal computer and SpeechMaster programming software. DAF can be programmed from 0 to 220ms, and FAF is typically set at 500 or 1000Hz shifts up or down. An internal volume can also be adjusted. With this flexibility, SpeechEasy can be programmed to match the needs of most individuals who stutter.
Research has shown that fluency enhancement derived from receiving the effects binaurally (in both ears) is the most effective. It should be noted, however, that by wearing a SpeechEasy in both ears, normal sounds will be significantly distorted. It should also be noted that monaural (one ear) effects inhibit stuttering frequency better than non-altered auditory feedback. At present we recommend SpeechEasy for monaural use, and results from over five thousand users suggest that the effects are robust enough not to warrant binaural use.
Preliminary, 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. Please refer to the Research section at speecheasy.com.
Ten years of research have been conducted to test the effects of AAF, but because the SpeechEasy is relatively new, only a few published studies exist. Several studies at a number of prestigious research institutions have been initiated which will serve to help validate our findings. The largest, independent efficacy research project underway is taking place at Auburn University.
Janus Development Group, Inc. is committed to continuing to work with researchers and professionals to gain more independent, long-term efficacy studies in the future.
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. However, no data exists to support this claim, and it is recommended that clients of SpeechEasy wear the device as often as possible to get the best effects.
Some people are especially susceptible to the effects of AAF and seem to become fluent shortly after inserting the SpeechEasy device—others may require training to derive the best benefits.
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.
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 is designed and developed for use with those whose primary and only diagnosis is 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. The only way to know if SpeechEasy is right for you is to be evaluated by a providing SLP.
To hear from SpeechEasy clients, please visit the Discussion Board on our client website. There you will find hundreds of postings from people with questions, people using the device and providing SLPs. Many of your questions can be answered there or you can post a question to the entire board.
The first step is to contact the SpeechEasy provider closest to you. Your local provider will be able to schedule an appointment and evaluation to use the SpeechEasy device. 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.
If you like the effects and choose to purchase SpeechEasy, an ear mold impression and a hearing evaluation must be completed by an Audiologist. Your providing SLP will then send the ear impression, an order form and payment to the Janus shell lab for custom manufacture of the device. The completed device is then sent back to your providing SLP and they will contact you to schedule a pick up appointment.
Your providing SLP will charge for their services which may or may not include the audiological fees. These fees may range from $300 to $500 depending on your location. There is also the charge for the actual device which ranges from
$4100 to $5100 $2500 to $4500 (excluding options). Some states 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 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.
From the time you place your order, you can expect to pick up your SpeechEasy in 3-4 weeks from your providing SLP. It typically takes 15 business days for Janus Development Group, Inc. to manufacture your device once it is received.
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. Should you decide within 60 days of receiving your device that SpeechEasy is not right for you—for any reason—you may return it to your providing SLP for a 90% refund of the purchase price. (10% is retained to offset unrecoverable expenses associated with the manufacture of a customized device.)
Payment options will vary, depending on the location and the payment terms they currently offer. Most offices accept credit card payments and personal checks while also offering financing options such as CareCredit.
The SpeechEasy Leasing program is also an option. With our lease the client will pay a down payment up front and make small monthly payments for forty-six months. During that time the device would be covered for loss or damage. For more information on this option please contact Janus Development Group, Inc..
Other payment options or financial assistance may include: Vocational Rehabilitation Services, VA benefits, Flexible Spending Plans through your employer, civic organizations, community organizations and foundations. Please contact your local, providing SLP to see what options are available in your area.
Due to the number of variables associated with medical insurance (provider, amount of coverage, state where located, etc.), it is highly recommended that each customer explore this method of payment with their insurance carrier. To assist you Janus Development Group, Inc. has contracted with Healthcare Reimbursement Solutions, Inc. (HRSI).
HRSI will file claims and conduct any necessary appeals for you at no charge. You simply need to fill out an application. For more information please contact Janus Development Group, Inc. or your local provider.