Effects of the SpeechEasy on Objective and Perceived Aspects of Stuttering: A 6-Month, Phase I Clinical Trial in Naturalistic Environments Purpose Effects of the SpeechEasy when used under extraclinical conditions over several months were investigated. Primary purposes were to help establish Phase I level information about the therapeutic utility of the SpeechEasy and to compare those results with previous findings obtained in laboratory and clinical settings. Method Eleven ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2009
Effects of the SpeechEasy on Objective and Perceived Aspects of Stuttering: A 6-Month, Phase I Clinical Trial in Naturalistic Environments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ryan Pollard
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • John B. Ellis
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Don Finan
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Peter R. Ramig
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Disclosure Statement
    Disclosure Statement×
    Devices were loaned at no cost to the experimenters for use in this study by Janus Development Group, Inc., manufacturer and distributor of the SpeechEasy. The company did not dictate conditions or expectations associated with its agreement to provide devices for this experiment and provided no financial support or compensation to any of the researchers related to the conduct of the study. Although the second and fourth authors are trained SpeechEasy providers, neither received any commission from the sale of devices to participants who purchased their SpeechEasys at the conclusion of the study. Those participants dealt exclusively with Janus Development Group to arrange payment for the device.
    Devices were loaned at no cost to the experimenters for use in this study by Janus Development Group, Inc., manufacturer and distributor of the SpeechEasy. The company did not dictate conditions or expectations associated with its agreement to provide devices for this experiment and provided no financial support or compensation to any of the researchers related to the conduct of the study. Although the second and fourth authors are trained SpeechEasy providers, neither received any commission from the sale of devices to participants who purchased their SpeechEasys at the conclusion of the study. Those participants dealt exclusively with Janus Development Group to arrange payment for the device.×
  • Contact author: Ryan Pollard, University of Colorado at Boulder, 409 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: ryan.pollard@colorado.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2009
Effects of the SpeechEasy on Objective and Perceived Aspects of Stuttering: A 6-Month, Phase I Clinical Trial in Naturalistic Environments
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 516-533. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0204)
History: Received September 3, 2007 , Revised April 11, 2008 , Accepted July 15, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2009, Vol. 52, 516-533. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0204)
History: Received September 3, 2007; Revised April 11, 2008; Accepted July 15, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 21

Purpose Effects of the SpeechEasy when used under extraclinical conditions over several months were investigated. Primary purposes were to help establish Phase I level information about the therapeutic utility of the SpeechEasy and to compare those results with previous findings obtained in laboratory and clinical settings.

Method Eleven adults who stutter participated. A nonrandomized ABA group design was utilized. Speech samples were collected every 2 weeks in extraclinical environments. Qualitative data were collected through weekly written logs and an exit questionnaire.

Results Group analyses revealed a statistically significant effect of the SpeechEasy immediately postfitting but no treatment effect across 4 months' time. Individual responses varied greatly with regard to stuttering frequency and subjective impressions. Relatively more stuttering reduction occurred during oral reading than during formulated speech.

Conclusions Based on this protocol, Phase II trials are not indicated. However, positive individual responses and self-reports suggest some clinical utility for the SpeechEasy. The use of more challenging sampling procedures strengthened external validity and captured more modest altered auditory feedback effects compared with those previously reported in laboratory settings. Device use coincided more so with positive subjective impressions than with measurable fluency improvement, highlighting challenges facing clinicians when implementing principles of evidence-based practice, including client-based preferences.

Acknowledgments
We wish to thank Melinda Anderson, Garrett Cardon, Tami Fredrickson, Melissa Garafalo, Amy Nash, Becky Nelson, and Cory Portnuff at the University of Colorado Speech, Language, and Hearing Center for taking ear impressions and performing comprehensive hearing tests free of charge when needed. We also thank Amy Sakuda for assistance with coding reliability, Mark Onslow for helpful comments and suggestions on a draft of this article, and Patricia Zebrowski and Patrick Finn for their thoughtful reviews.
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