Stuttering is a speech disorder. If you stutter, you may know what you want to say, but it's hard to get the words out. It may feel like the words get stuck, or that you repeat them over and over again. You may also stop at certain syllables. Stuttering affects people of all ages, but it is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 6. About 75 percent of children lose this stuttering over time. The remaining 25 percent experience the disorder throughout adulthood. About 3 million children and adults in the United States are affected by this disorder. While stuttering cannot be completely cured, there are several things you can do to improve your speech.
Tip #1: Slow down
One of the more effective ways to stop stuttering is to speak slowly. Rushing your thoughts can cause you to stutter, speed up your speech, or have trouble getting words out. Taking a few deep breaths and speaking slowly can help control stuttering.
Tip #2: Practice
Reach out to a close friend or family member to see if they can sit down and talk with you. Practicing your speech in a safe environment can help you feel more at ease with yourself and the way your speech sounds. Joining a self-help group with other people who stutter can also be beneficial. You can learn what works for others when they speak in public or even in small groups of friends.
Tip #3: Go electronic
In some cases, a specialized in-ear device called a speech monitor can help. These devices use delay and frequency feedback software to help you speak more fluently.
Like a hearing aid, the device attaches to the inside of the user's ear. The software changes the sound of your voice and delays it by a fraction of a second. This can help slow down your speech and allow you to speak without stuttering. While there is some research to support the effectiveness of the device, it is unclear if the effects are long lasting. These devices often cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500, so it's important to be sure that this is the best option for you. Talk to your doctor about what benefits an ear device can provide and whether any financial assistance programs are available.
Your doctor may also recommend a more affordable device to help with speech.
If you are talking to someone who stutters, it is important to let them speak at their own pace. Trying to rush their speech will only make it harder for them to finish sharing their thoughts. You also shouldn't try to finish your sentences for them. Be patient and let them finish on their own. This will not only help them work on their stuttering, but can have a positive impact on their overall well-being.
Long-term support is essential to helping your loved one with their stuttering.
There is no cure for stuttering, but it can be managed effectively. Practicing and acquiring speech can help reduce stuttering over time. Developing a support network of family and friends is key. Even joining a support group for people who stutter can be beneficial. A certified speech pathologist can provide you with personalized guidance.