NC-Produced Device Helps UNCG Student's Stutter

GREENSBORO -- Words have not always come easy to 20 year old Ben Kordsmeier. He began stuttering when he was about 3 years old.

"At some points I wouldn't really talk,” said Kordsmeier, “At the end of the day I'd get home and that's it."

It was frustrating for him as he went through years of speech therapy, but the stuttering still wouldn't go away. It wasn't until Ben met speech language pathologist,  Maria Lucente that he would find his voice and his life would change.

"He was rather quiet and shy young man,” explained Lucente, “Today he's just vibrant and articulate and well spoken."

It was all thanks to a device created by an East Carolina University professor. Its called a “Speech Easy.” The device resembles a hearing aid, but uses altered auditory feedback.

"The person wearing the device actually gets their own speech with a slight delay and pitch change,” explained Lucente.

Ben isn't alone, Lucente says 1 percent of the population suffers from the speech disability. So far, the device has helped more than 10,000 people regain their speech.

"It's exciting because it opens a world of possibilities for them,” explained Lucente.

Now, Ben is a junior at UNCG earning his nursing degree. He says thanks to the device he can reach his dream much easier. Especially when it comes to those long complicated medical terms.

"Situations where problems arise, you have to have quick rapid communication,” said Kordsmeier, “This device is going to allow for that."

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