Stop Stuttering

FRESNO, Calif.

Kings suffered from it. The drama that played out in the Oscar-winning performance "The King's Speech" is what Dave Barnett lived with every day of his life.

"I had people laugh at me, mock me, it was rough," Dave Barnett told Ivanhoe. "I'd become a master of replacing words I knew I couldn't pronounce."

And he would have never read a book to his son.

"He was looking at me differently. He was trying to figure out is that the way daddy talks," Barnett said.

The word "seven" was particularly hard for him, but not anymore. Another tough word was "firefighter." After speech therapy and even hypnosis, Dave has now found his voice with a small hearing-aid type device.

"For many people, this is their last resort. I've tried everything else," Jennifer Peacock, M.A., CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, explained.

Speech pathologists at the Henry Ford Hospital are using the SpeechEasy to not amplify sound, but instead, alter it, echoing a person's voice in a different pitch, with a very slight delay.

"You're hearing your voice just milliseconds after you actually say it, and the change in frequency makes you feel like you're talking to another person instead of just listening to your own voice," Jennifer Peacock, M.A., CCC-SLP said.

"As I speak, there's a computer voice in my ear, which I hear all day long," Barnett said.

It creates a choral effect, which resembles when you speak or sing in union with others -- allowing Dave to speak without stuttering. A lesson learned from kings… to the common man.

"It has completely changed my life," Barnett said.

Everyone should be heard.

"He loves reading stories. He'll just keep on reading stories. It's cute," Fiona Barnett, Dave's wife, said.

A study at Henry Ford Hospital showed that 57 percent of the people who tried the device ended up purchasing it, which means it doesn't work for everyone because it is expensive. It costs up to five thousand dollars, and insurance often does not cover it.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marsha Hitchcock at mhitchcock@ivanhoe.com

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