iPhone app instantly helps father-of-bride beat his stammer

The BBC have a rather touching report on how an iPhone app has helped a father beat his stammer in time for his daughter's wedding.

The man in question is Mark Wilson and 14 months ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which doctors believe may be a cause for his stammer. Mark, who was used to being quick-witted and confident, found himself biting his tongue and remaining quiet during regular conversations before eventually looking for help from from Weston General Hospital in Somerset.

What Mark needed was what's called a delayed auditory feedback device (or a DAF, for short). The principal of the device is somewhat simple, it works by recording and playing back the person's speech with a slight delay. The problem is that DAF devices can be expensive. Speech therapist Mike Richard, who works at Weston General Hospital, discovered an iPhone app that performs this exact function and much to everyone's delight, it has helped Mark speak clearly and confidently once more. This is what Mark had to say:

To me it sounds in my ear as if the device is repeating what I say back to me, but to the listener, it just sounds as if I am speaking perfectly normally. It is a minor miracle and has given me my old self back again.

Unfortunately, the DAF technique wont work for everyone with a stammer, in fact it's only effective on about a third of patients. Still, considering that the equipment normally costs nearly £2000, it does show that the iPhone isn't necessarily as expensive as some people think.

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18 Comments

Which app is this exactly? Stuttering, unfortunately, has been a common problem in my life since I was 7 years old and I have yet to recover from it completely. I would love to try out this app just to see if it can benefit me in the long run.

stvnwst said,
Which app is this exactly? Stuttering, unfortunately, has been a common problem in my life since I was 7 years old and I have yet to recover from it completely. I would love to try out this app just to see if it can benefit me in the long run.

Windows version: http://www.artefactsoft.com/daf.htm
Windows Mobile version: http://www.artefactsoft.com/pocketdaf.htm
iPhone version: http://www.artefactsoft.com/iphonedaf.htm

It has been available for Windows Mobile for years. But now, since it's on the iPhone, reporters are all over it. It was available for Pocket PC in 2003

rfirth said,

Windows version: http://www.artefactsoft.com/daf.htm
Windows Mobile version: http://www.artefactsoft.com/pocketdaf.htm
iPhone version: http://www.artefactsoft.com/iphonedaf.htm

It has been available for Windows Mobile for years. But now, since it's on the iPhone, reporters are all over it. It was available for Pocket PC in 2003

That doesn't seem to surprise me at all whatsoever lol. On the other hand, the developers of this application need to realize there are stutters who use Android, but my netbook (Windows 7) should be good with this! Thank you!

stvnwst said,

That doesn't seem to surprise me at all whatsoever lol. On the other hand, the developers of this application need to realize there are stutters who use Android, but my netbook (Windows 7) should be good with this! Thank you!

Let us know if it works, I'm quite interested to see if it does =)

Still, considering that the equipment normally costs nearly £2000, it does show that the iPhone isn't necessarily as expensive as some people think.

Actually, to me it makes it seem as if the normal equipment is horrendously over priced. If it can be replaced by an off the shelf piece of generalised hardware with a cheap software package then someone is profiteering - unless the normal kit does a whole lot more. It seems to me that someone should be able to develop a specialised piece of kit that does this for about £50.

Still, glad to hear that there was something that could help this man regain his life.

Slugsie said,

Actually, to me it makes it seem as if the normal equipment is horrendously over priced. If it can be replaced by an off the shelf piece of generalised hardware with a cheap software package then someone is profiteering - unless the normal kit does a whole lot more. It seems to me that someone should be able to develop a specialised piece of kit that does this for about £50.

Still, glad to hear that there was something that could help this man regain his life.

Playing Devil's advocate here, but the "normal" equipment probably costs that much because of all the money that went into researching and testing it in the first place.

Kushan said,

Playing Devil's advocate here, but the "normal" equipment probably costs that much because of all the money that went into researching and testing it in the first place.

As somebody who has spent a lot of time looking into the manufacture and retail of medical equipment I can tell you that it isn't research. These companies are guilty of overcharging for everything- even things like X-ray boxes (literally a metal box, two fluorescent bulbs and a piece of acryllic) go for roughly £300 (more if you want one capable of viewing multiple films at once).

They're not targeting individuals but as long as the NHS and other healthcare providers are willing to pay why wouldn't they charge so much?

northerngeek said,
These companies are guilty of overcharging for everything-
...
They're not targeting individuals but as long as the NHS and other healthcare providers are willing to pay why wouldn't they charge so much?

Exactlly. I bought a pair of aluminum wrist canes for my son over the internet for around $85CDN where as if I got the ones that my healthcare system buys, they'd be free and then $1500 for replacement if they were lost or damaged.

"it works by recording and playing back the person's speech with a slight delay."

How on earth does a device that does that cost so much? £2000?

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