Refutation of a Therapeutic Alternative? A Reply to Pollard, Ellis, Finan, and Ramig (2009) PurposeTo challenge the findings of Pollard, Ellis, Finan, and Ramig (2009), who examined 11 participants using the SpeechEasy, an in-the-ear device that employs altered auditory feedback to reduce stuttering, in a 6-month “clinical trial.” Pollard et al. failed to demonstrate a significant treatment effect on stuttering frequency, yet found positive ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   August 01, 2010
Refutation of a Therapeutic Alternative? A Reply to Pollard, Ellis, Finan, and Ramig (2009)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tim Saltuklaroglu
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Joseph Kalinowski
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Andrew Stuart
    East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Disclosure
    Disclosure×
    As per the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2004) Conflicts of Professional Interest [Issues in Ethics], we acknowledge a potential conflict in that the second and third authors of the manuscript are co-inventors of the SpeechEasy. These authors disclose a financial interest in the form of minority ownership of nonvoting common stock in Janus Development Group, Inc., the company that manufactures the device.
    As per the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2004) Conflicts of Professional Interest [Issues in Ethics], we acknowledge a potential conflict in that the second and third authors of the manuscript are co-inventors of the SpeechEasy. These authors disclose a financial interest in the form of minority ownership of nonvoting common stock in Janus Development Group, Inc., the company that manufactures the device.×
  • Contact author: Tim Saltuklaroglu, Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee, 533 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996-0740. E-mail: tsaltukl@utk.edu.
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Speech
Letter to the Editor   |   August 01, 2010
Refutation of a Therapeutic Alternative? A Reply to Pollard, Ellis, Finan, and Ramig (2009)
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 908-911. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0128)
History: Received June 25, 2009 , Revised September 23, 2009 , Accepted December 7, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 908-911. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/09-0128)
History: Received June 25, 2009; Revised September 23, 2009; Accepted December 7, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeTo challenge the findings of Pollard, Ellis, Finan, and Ramig (2009), who examined 11 participants using the SpeechEasy, an in-the-ear device that employs altered auditory feedback to reduce stuttering, in a 6-month “clinical trial.” Pollard et al. failed to demonstrate a significant treatment effect on stuttering frequency, yet found positive subjective self-report data across four months of use. The authors concluded that the device was not therapeutically useful and further testing is unwarranted.

ResultsWe dispute Pollard et al. on the following grounds: Their operational definition of stuttering is confounded as it does not adequately distinguish true stuttering from “normally” disfluent speech or from volitionally produced initiating gestures taught to be used as part of the treatment protocol, nor is it the definition used in their pre- and posttreatment stuttering assessment instrument; they failed to maintain participant adherence to the treatment protocol of device usage; they utilized an inadequate question-asking task; and their conclusion of no significant treatment effect that is drawn from their inferential statistical analyses of group data.

ConclusionsIn light of problematic objective measurements, reported positive subjective findings, a robust corpus of contradictory data, and the need for alternative stuttering treatments, we argue that the SpeechEasy merits further investigation.

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