Stuttering Helped with Sound Therapy?

Stuttering is a speech problemcharacterized by repetitions, pauses, or drawn out syllables, words, andphrases.[1] In other words, there is a breakdown in how the personprocesses the information, patterns, rhythms, and speech sounds in the feedbackloop that exists between the voice, the ear and the brain.

What has been tried?

One techniquethat speech pathologists have used is called Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF). Aspecial device uses a microphone and headphones that allows the user to hearhis/her own speech after a short delay period. The user monitors how long a delay they need to process the informationclearly.  By varying and shortening thedelay, the goal is to have the stutterer no longer need the device and be ableto self-correct.  This technique isconsidered to be a successful way to treat stuttering.[2]  This approach is utilizing a mechanicaldevice for something that can be done more naturally by retraining theconnection between the voice, the ear, and the brain.

Whatis New?

The connectionbetween our voice, our ear, and our brain, called The Voice-Ear-BrainConnection, was introduced in the book, TheCycle of Sound: Exploring the Voice-Ear-Brain Connection.[3]  This connection is founded in 5 laws whichdemonstrate that the voice produces what the ear hears, and the ear emits thesame stressed frequencies as the voice, and when the complementary frequenciesare reintroduced into the ear, the voice regains coherence and the brain cansupport the flow of correct information to the body better.  This cyclical process is in effect thefoundation behind the feedback loop established with DAF but occurs as anatural biological body response.  Theloop is out of balance for the person with dysfluency, stammering or stutteringissues.

With stuttering, as the research behindthe DAF demonstrates, when the feedback loop is restored and the soundinformation is balanced, the voice regains coherence—a better flow, rhythm,perception and production of speech and language for communication isevidenced.  So The Davis Model of SoundIntervention™ uses an holistic approach to regain this coherence.  This approach uses the vibrational energy ofsound to make core foundational change for the stutterer which in turnrepatterns and balances the connection feedback loop.


The basic concept was initiallyidentified by Dr. Alfred Tomatis, a French Ear-Nose-Throat physician in TheTomatis Effect and further refined by Dorinne Davis in The Davis Addendum™ tothe Tomatis Effect in 2004.  Bothconcepts form the foundation for the future use of sound-based therapy for anyissue within The Davis Model of Sound Intervention. 

According to Dr. Tomatis, stuttering isdue to the person using his left ear or both ears as his dominant listeningear.  The right ear should be thedominant ear for communication and listening. If the left or both ears are dominant, there is a delay in processingeither what is being said to the person or what the person is saying with theirown voice.  Depending upon the languagespoken, this delay can range from .15 to .2 seconds—too long for the feedbackloop to process the information clearly and effectively. Dr. Tomatis workedwith a group of 74 stutterers, all of whom had difficulty with using theirright ear for listening.  When his methodwas used, all of them began to speak correctly.[4] Ina subsequent study, 43 stutterers between the ages of 14-53 used Dr. Tomatis’approach and all subjects exhibited more fluent speech with 82.5% of theparticipants showing significant improvement. After one year, 54% had maintained their improvement in speech.[5]

Ms. Davis’work goes beyond just the right ear balancing and helps maintain the overallbody in balance with her process called Ototoning™.[6]  This process additionally balances not onlythe vocal output with the ear but the ear’s emission of sound as well.

Howdoes the process work?

A diagnostic evaluation is used todetermine all the imbalances for each person and then a protocol of specifictherapies are identified.  The protocolis based upon the interpretation of the evaluation’s results and the correctadministration of any sound-based therapy as utilized with The Tree of Sound Enhancement Therapy®.  This Tree analogy has six basic parts buttypically the stutterer needs one, two, or possibly three different sound-basedtherapies to support them toward a natural rebalancing so that change canoccur. The change should be permanent if external influences do not triggerregression.

What are external influences?  There are many.  In one case, an 11 year old boy who had beena severe stutterer used The Davis Model of Sound Intervention and the change inhis stuttering was extremely positive. After a period of time, the young man returned and was stuttering again,although not as severely as when he first arrived.  Apparently his father also stutters and theboy, not being strong enough to self-monitor his voice, began to ‘entrain’ orbe the same as his father’s voice and the stuttering returned. 

Another of Ms. Davis’ clients hadreached a balanced position from a head injury that was fairly severe.  She had not been a stutterer prior to heraccident.  After using The Davis Model ofSound Intervention, this client was so glad to be functioning well again.  She was so happy that she attempted to go towork again. She hired a housekeeper (who happened to stutter) and soon theclient began to notice she was stuttering. Her body had not recovered sufficiently to maintain her body’swell-being when the housekeeper was hired. As a result, the client was not strong enough vibrationally to avoid the‘entrainment’ to the stronger voice of the stutterer.  Unfortunately, the stutterer was let go andthe client’s voice returned to normal.

The feedback loop exists.  The Voice-Ear-Brain Connection exists.  By repatterning how the loop supplies thevoice and ear with the needed sound patterns, rhythms, and speech sounds, thebrain can help the individual eliminate the irregularities in their speakingskills and the stuttering improves.




[3]Available from Integral Publishers after11/11/11

[4]Tomatis,A.A. (1954). Research on the pathogenesis of stuttering, French Journal ofoto-rhinolaryngology. (4), 384.

[5] VanJaarsveld, P.E. (1974). I-lakkal en’n waardering van die tegniek van Tomatis bydie remediering daarvan. Ongepublisserde doctoral proefskrif, PotchefstroomUniversiteit vir CHO: Potchefstroom.

[6]Introduced in The Cycle of Sound:Exploring the Voice-Ear-Brain Connection by Integral Publishers.

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