Sunday, February 20, 2011

Different voice, no stuttering?

 An interesting self-report of a reader. I am wondering whether the change in voice in puberty affects stuttering. In a sense, the brain does not identify its own voice, and you might have the choral effect!! ;-) That's the first time, I hear this:
I've had MASSIVE fluctuations in stuttering around the time my voice changed. These were much more than a period of good or bad days. I was reduced to a complete absence of stuttering. I could not make myself stutter during these periods.

When I was going through puberty, I stopped stuttering for 2-3 months. I was reading fluently in class and I introduced myself in front of roughly 300 people. I was as surprised as my classmates and teacher were. I attribute this to my voice changing and I gradually relapsed. Around this same time I was becoming really popular so my confidence might have increased, but that might have been a side-effect of the fluency. As I was relapsing, the biggest change back to stuttering was when I got an ear infection, that caused fluid build up in my ears reducing my
hearing and amplifying my voice. I had tubes put into my ears to get my hearing back and I stopped stuttering for about 2 weeks. Just mention when I had tubes put in my ears to remove fluid and fix my hearing, there was a massive change after the operation. This is something that happened in less than an hour and the only thing that changed was my hearing. There is also a possibility that one of the drugs used in the surgery did this to my stuttering, but I doubt it. There was a gradual relapse over a 2 week period. I'm reasonably certain I had stopped stuttering for 3-4 days and then it gradually returned over a period of two weeks.
We were on a field trip for school the day after and a teacher was stunned when I ordered perfectly at a restaurant. The speecheasy worked the first time I tried it, but the actual device did not.

It seemed like the times I was fluent, I was talking and I knew I was hearing my voice, but at the same time I was wondering where that sound was coming from. I had a similar experience with a new dirt bike. I knew I was causing the sound and how to control the throttle according to the sound of the motor, but I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from. I had less of the same experience on a third dirt bike and on the forth I either didn't have this experience or it was very brief.

I do not stutter in bars (and places with noise in general), but I don't like going. I can talk to people normally for hours in bars, but I go to them maybe once a year. This is not an exaggeration. I do not have to do anything to manage stuttering and I'm free to say anything I want effortlessly.


Anonymous said...

I have heard of cases where people would intentionally speak in a different accent to avoid stuttering/ I understood that it created some interesting situations such as a native Londoner talking in a pronounced and perhaps over bearing Texan accent lol. But that is mre fluency shaping than anything else I guess

Anonymous said...

If I speak in an accent, my stutter is not evident, however I assume that if you adopted that accent all of the time, that would be "you" and you would stutter with it.

Also, I recently had the flu and had a really bad sore throat, deep tones and I was fluent, no thought of stuttering at all.

Stuttering is so situational, there are words I can say in most situations, but in others its almost impossible - weird!

Tom Weidig said...

Precisely, the longer you play the act, the more it becomes the standard mode and the lower the fluency benefits.

Self-reporter said...

I asked my mom if this is accurate and she said yes. She even said that when I was little she could tell when I had a lot of wax in my ears because I would be stuttering more and she would take me to the doctor to get my ears cleaned and I would stutter less after.

Also, the baseline after my voice changed for puberty and my hearing is not muffled by wax/fluid is much higher (probably 25-50% reduction in severity).

John Books said...

I don't how much of this story I believe.

You have to understand I read and post at the stuttering forum and these kinds of stories, although not with this much detail, are there all the time so now I take these stories with a grain of salt.

With respect to this story I sought of don't understand if the change in puberty occurred at the SAME TIME as the hearing operation.

Anyway with respect to the puberty changes, he said " I was reading fluently in class and I introduced myself in front of roughly 300 people." I don't understand why a situation of where he introduced himself in front of 300 people would even occur I mean he is not a celebrity or a politician running for office, right? I don't think this happened and how often does a person as a teenager read in class, sure this happens in the much earlier grades, but at 12, 13 or 14, I don't think so. It would have been more believable that he gave SPEECHES IN CLASS and did not stutter, yeah, sure but he did not mention this, what a shame!

As for the hearing operation, that sounds more possible because several people have mentioned that hearing your own voice is a causing factor for stuttering so this feels possible

Of course on the other hand it could be that since he felt a change in his hearing and he could not hear where his voice came from then he could IMAGINE THAT HE WAS SOUGHT OF SOMEBODY ELSE FOR A WHILE AS STUTTERING ACTORS AND ACTRESSES DO.

Interestinf story but the puberty angle does not make sense, if this was true WE WOULD HAVE HEARD OF THIS BEFORE NUMEROUS TIMES AS ALL STUTTERERS GO THRU PUBERTY.

good.gwen said...

I came across this post searching for articles about stutterers speaking in an affected accent.

I myself (an American) have noticed that when I affect a different accent for fun (say British) I am very fluent. Many others seem to report this as well.

I have come across other stories that report something similar.

I had classes in high school that required reading aloud (foreign language classes, oral reports, etc) And I was in situations where I introduced myself to hundreds at a school assembly or in Rotary convention and other such student

From my point of view, your level of suspicion is not founded.

Anonymous said...

What level of suspicion good gwen are you referring to and by whom?

JAR said...

It's absolutely true. As a person who has stuttered all his life (i'm now 40) i can 100% say, that when i intentionally use an accent or change the way i talk, i stutter mabye 99% less.