Monday, February 20, 2006

More fluent without hearing

Sometimes I speak with Per Alm over Skype. I asked him whether people with PDS stutter less when they do not hear their voice. And he confirmed my suspicion. He also mentioned that van Ripper reports on two case studies where people with PDS became fluent after having become deaf. Of course, these are anecdotal findings.

And, we need to be careful not to read too much into this correlation between fluency and hearing. This type of findings does not imply that a bad hearing system is to blame for stuttering. I would rather guess that the person now needs to concentrate more on his speech, and this makes him more fluent. This would put the no-hearing-more-fluency findings into the category of fluency inducing tasks like singing, shouting, acting, speaking with a foreign accent, and more.


Einar said...

The idea that focusing more on the speech because of loss of hearing doesn't make sense to me. Couldn't the reason for the improved fluency rather be psychological? ie because you can't hear your own voice, the self-criticism is turned off, hence the psychological pressure one puts on one-self while speaking is decreased, resulting in improved fluency.

Tom Weidig said...

But why is it that people that use altered auditory feedback are more fluent. They hear their own voice with a delay, and should self-criticicm not become greater making speech even less fluent?

I am not saying that there is no psychological effect. When I experience the fluency during tasks like chorus reading, acting, singing and so on, I feel as if I am tuning into a different mode.

Einar said...

Hm, a big effect of altered auditory feedback is certainly the fact that it diverts your attention, as long as you are diverted by that weird echo, it's normal that you stutter less or don't stutter at all. But what a price to elimitate stuttering by using this crutch that makes normal communication impossible.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Edinburgh Masker: triggered by the onset of speech, it played noise into the ears of the speaker, making it impossible for the speaker to hear their own voice.

Vasic and Wijnen's (2005) Vicious Circle Hypothesis suggests that self-monitoring of speech may be directly implicated in stuttering.
One way that we monitor our speech is by hearing what we're saying.