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Joanna Ratynska, Agata Szkielkowska, Renata Markowska, Marek Kurkowski, Marzena Mularzuk, Henryk Skarzynski
Med Sci Monit 2009; 15(7): CR355-360
The Digital Speech Aid (DSA) is a portable device used to reduce stuttering. It incorporates delayed auditory feedback (DAF) and frequency-shifted auditory feedback (FAF). Due to its small size, the DSA can be used by the stutterer in everyday life.
Material and Method: Three hundred thirty-five stutterers aged 6-64 years were included in the study. A subgroup of 100 stutterers who had used the device for at least six months was asked to fill out a questionnaire of 25 questions about their opinion of the device. The data were analyzed and the factors determining the patients' satisfaction with the device were investigated.
Results: The analysis showed that the patients used the DSA regularly for about 3 hours daily. Most patients applied the device at home; only small number used it at work or at school. Most patients (70%) reported decreased fear of speaking and improved self-confidence during communication when using the device (78%). Eighty-eight percent of the patients described the device as very useful or useful in everyday life. That patients' satisfaction with the device was not related to objective speech improvement but to a subjective feeling of increased self-confidence and decreased fear of speaking.
Conclusions: The DSA is positively judged by patients as an option in stuttering therapy. Its effect can be attributed not only to fluency improvement, but also to increased self-confidence and reduced fear of speaking.