Bristol

Father-of-bride helped by stammer phone app

  • 7 June 2011
  • From the section Bristol

A father-of-the-bride who feared his stammer would prevent him giving a wedding speech has been helped by a phone app, a health trust says.

Mark Wilson, 53, sought help from Weston General Hospital in Somerset ahead of his daughter's August wedding.

Speech therapist Mike Richards came across the iPhone software when searching for delayed auditory feedback (DAF) devices, which can help some.

Mr Wilson, who has Parkinson's disease, said his confidence had returned.

Weston Area Health Area NHS Trust said a stammer could be a symptom of Parkinson's disease.

DAF devices can help people who stammer by delaying the sound of their voice to their ears by a fraction of a second.

Mr Richards said such electronic devices can cost up to £2,000 so he was pleased to find an inexpensive alternative.

'Old self'

Mr Wilson, of Churchill, Somerset, said using the DAF Assistant app was "like flicking a switch".

"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," he said.

"It is a minor miracle and has given me my old self back again."

Mr Wilson sold his transport cafe business in Bristol and took early retirement after being diagnosed with Parkinson's 14 months ago.

He said having a stammer had affected his personality.

"I have always been a quick-witted person - always ready to come in with a funny response or a joke, but my stammer was making me keep quiet because I couldn't get my words out in time," he said.

"Now I have my confidence back and speaking at my daughter's wedding holds no fears for me now - I'll be fine."

Mr Richards stressed the DAF technique could help only about a third of people who stammered, but that when it worked the change could be "instant".

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