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Steps to fluency using the VA601i

The analogy is — If I ask you to smile and take a photo of you, the result will be different to me taking a photo of you laughing (showing emotion). When we use our emotional brain (like when we sing) our speech is smooth. The Audio feed-back from the VoiceAmp device is trying to stimulate this part of your brain.

Because we are creatures of habit, it takes a bit of training and effort to do things differently. However, with a bit of practice we should be able to promote fluency with the aid of the AAF sound.

Our aim is to make you more fluent, not to treat stuttering. Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure, but getting into the habit of more fluency is a good start. We cannot promise you 100% fluency but based on our experience our users experience more fluency and a better control of their speech and the social situation they are speaking in.

We all react slightly differently to the Auditory feedback.

Quick Preparation

Find a quiet place to practise.

  • The VoiceAmp fluency device will arrive with a sufficiently charged battery to get you through the first exercise, nevertheless, make sure you charge the device overnight.
  • You and your device need to work smoothly together: think about being a team.
  • Press the Red power key.
  • Select the Orange Program by pressing the program select key the top LED will flash orange.
  • Connect either one of the headsets, and ensure it’s pushed into the socket firmly, and fits your ear comfortably.
  • Take A deep breath, relax and exhale, then take another breath, and exhale slowly.
  • The first two exercises are deliberately simple and designed to get you started in a relaxed and calm environment.

Exercise 1

Find a quiet place to practise.

  • After taking a deep breath, slowly repeat aloud the days of the week, “Monday, ... Tuesday ... Wednesday” ... etc.

    You are training yourself to the new audio feedback sound. Don’t say anything other than simply repeating those days of the week, with deliberate slow speech.

  • With the same slow speech and prolonging your speech, (stretch out those words). Repeat out aloud the months of the year. “January ... February ... March “... etc.

The reason you need to repeat predictive words is to build up your confidence without stuttering and desensitize your auditory feedback system without thinking about what you have to say and without anyone else hearing you.

The Idea is to ignore the device and its sound and practice breathing and speaking with the device together. Each fluent sound will build your confidence and allow you to progress to the next step. Just like a car, you need a warm up before you pull away.

If necessary keep slowing your speech until you become as fluent as possible.

Exercise 2

Find a quiet place to practise.

The Idea of the next few exercises is to move through small units of speech (monosyllabic words) then onto phrases then word phrases, this way you build a connection (bridge). The reason for doing this is so you can work on the speech flow and not worry about constructing language. This needs to be done before moving onto a dialogue or conversational exchange.

  • Talking aloud: (alone)

    With the headset still connected to the VoiceAmp Device and switched on. Answer the fowling questions (aloud to yourself). Don't concern yourself about how you sound at all, just work through each step.

    1. What's your favourite colour?
    2. What's your favourite food?
    3. How many cups of tea/coffee do you drink in a day?
  • More talking aloud: (alone)

    Move on to these two questions, (again give your answers aloud).

    1. What book are you reading at the moment?
    2. Say a few words about the main character?

Ok, so these exercises may seem extremely basic (you may have done this type of exercise before). It is important to do each step to build a bridge between spoken words and phrases. Your brain is also now having to cope with a new sound and this take a while to get used to.

Remember each PWS is unique and this guide attempts to accommodate a wide range of stutterers and different levels of severity. You may need to repeat an exercise and if you have a days break between exercises you will need to cover a previous exercise again before moving on.

Exercise 3

Find a quiet place to practise.

  • Reading aloud: (alone)

    The passage below is a phonetically balanced reading passage and designed to help you get going into speech flow. If you are doing this exercise immediately after the previous exercise then proceed to read the passage below, slowly. If this is your first exercise today, first repeat exercise one again.

    Read This aloud, alone and deliberately start slowly.

  • When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colours. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Ok, you are probably now getting more used to the different sound of the Device. So why the strange sound?

The Idea is to ignore the device and its sound and practice breathing and speaking with the device together. Each fluent sound will build your confidence and allow you to progress to the next step. Just like a car, you need a warm up before you pull away.

Recent research has shown we use a different part of our brain when we read alongside someone or sing (medial part). The AAF sound has a similar effect, and by using a different part of our brain we are able to promote fluency.

Exercise 4

Find a quiet place to practise.

We recommend you try this exercise on a new day when you are relaxed and have plenty of time to yourself.

Try those days of the week again as a starter. Monday , Tuesday ...

  • Read both passages aloud: (alone)

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky. Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun's rays by the rain.

Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows. Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the coloured band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows.

Exercise 5

Find a quiet place to practise.

Now I hear you say I’m normally fairly fluent when I’m reading alone anyway, yes but you need to get acclimatised to the AAF sound.

  • Now we want you to take the next step and try exercise 1 with the device and someone else listening.

    Choose someone you trust, and feel comfortable with, don't get into too much detail, just ask them if they would mind being a listener for two exercises, without giving you any feedback just yet.

  • So with your listener close by try those days of the week again with the device. Monday... Tuesday... (Slowly) Wednesday ...
  • Well, if that went OK perhaps it’s time to get really brave and try a short passage from exercise 2. aloud.
  • When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colours. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Exercise 6

  • We encourage you to repeat the previous exercise with a few close friends. Practice that simple passage a few times before reading from the daily newspaper or a book or poem. All speech relies on critical timing to work together and this will take practice. By slowing your speech down it give you more time to co-ordinate your speech.
  • It’s now time to try the other factory programs, try all three programs in succession and choose the one that suits you best by experimenting. The Green program is the program with the smallest amount of audio shift, while it may be an easier in the ear sound it may not promote the highest degree of fluency. The red program represents the biggest shift or change, although all factory programs can be adjusted later.
  • Once you have practiced reading with your device and a few friends or family members your confidence should have improved.

Like athletes who practice before they compete in sporting events, practice and preparation increase your chances of good performance.

A lot of research has been done to find the ideal settings to promote the best fluency. Adjusting the settings of the device is what gives the VoiceAmp system such flexibility. The overdrive section deals with these adjustment tools but this should only be done when you have practiced with the factory default settings, as it takes time and effort to work with the device initially.

Exercise 7

Spontaneous speech.

So far we have deliberately chosen easy tasks and repeated these several times over a few days.

It is not recommended you tackle this exercise until you have done the previous exercises as you need to get used to the AAF sound before you move into spontaneous or conversational speech.

Spontaneous speech (or conversational speech) is the task most stutterers find hard, this is because you don't get time to practice or rehearse your speech, it also means you could block on certain words that are difficult to avoid.

Many people still stutter to a degree even while using a device, it is less important to have stuffer free speech than controlled speech. The VoiceAmp system is designed to promote fluency, it also helps many people to relax. Relaxed speech itself requires less effort and with practice one’s confidence builds and this helps to further improve control.

  • In this exercise start a conversation with a friend, try and choose a quiet and private place, then fit your headset and select your preferred program. Speak for just a short period, then stop and ask your friend for feedback. Ask them if they noticed any difference in your speech and make notes of their observation in the diary download.
  • Repeat this exercise at another time with someone else and record their feedback.
  • Try to get three independent feedback comments and be sure to write down the comments.

Exercise 8

Speaking Out

  • This is the first exercise we encourage you to attempt as a spontaneous speech exercise over the telephone. Telephone conversations for stutterers are amongst some of the highest in anxiety but this will also be a good test of the robustness of your fluency in a more pressurised situation. The fact that it’s over the phone also means you don't need to give any explanation to anyone about the device as they wont know you are wearing it.
  • Try a call you routinely need to make, whether it’s setting up an appointment or getting a telephone number from directory enquiries, or ordering a taxi.
  • Keep notes of your fluency in these situations or even consider recording your conversations for monitoring purposes. When you feel confident enough get someone to listen in on your conversation and get them to give you feedback afterwards.
  • Try answering a few phone calls whilst wearing your device, keep a note of your progress and consider asking a friend if they notice any change.

Exercise 9

Speaking Out.

  • Now try using the device when having to address your next meeting or presentation. Keep it short and try the device when you are feeling confident. If you don't feel up to the task take the device along with you to the meeting in your pocket.
  • After you have done a few interactions get your trusted colleagues to give you feedback.

Contact and Support

VoiceAmp is continually improving existing technologies and exploring new techniques to improve fluency. We value your feedback. For technical support, please contact us.

Technical Support


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