by Allison Stalberg


Ben Kordsmeier is currently studying nursing at UNC Greensboro. Many would not know by looking, but Kordmeier has stuttered his entire life.

“My mom knew the struggles I had because I can’t really remember them. She said it would be an everyday thing that I would start out bad in the morning because I hadn’t been speaking all day,” said Kordsmeier.

“In the middle of the day I’d be a little bit better and then at night I’d really feel tired. She told me that I would be so tired that I’d just wouldn’t want to talk because it’s like you’re forcing out speech when speech didn’t want to occur. My tiredness would make me cranky at the end of the day, I was angry that I couldn’t speak.”

Today Kordsmeier’s speech comes easily.

It is due to a device called “SpeechEasy” that Kordsmeier’s stuttering began to lessen at age 10. Speech Language Pathologist, Maria Lucente, has helped Kordsmeier throughout his life with the SpeechEasy.

“The SpeechEasy device is a small, wearable device that’s worn in one ear to be used every day,” Lucente explained. “It’s similar in appearance to a hearing aid, but it’s not a hearing aid. Rather than amplifying the sound, it alters the sound that goes through the device so you hear your own voice at slight delay with a pitch difference.

“The purpose of the delay and pitch change is to recreate a natural phenomenon known as a ‘choral effect.’ The choral effect occurs when stutterers experience a dramatically reduced or even limited stuttering pattern when they’re speaking or singing in unison with other people. So the SpeechEasy device duplicates that for the wearer.”

Kordsmeier is thankful for SpeechEasy, especially now that he is studying nursing. “Accurately presenting what I want to say to someone is critical in that field,” he said.

According to Lucente, 85 to 90 percent of SpeechEasy users see improvement. Now Kordsmeier wears a newer version so he can use stethoscopes. When he takes out his SpeechEasy he does not stutter, though there are some words he finds difficult.

“That’s the really critical thing I’ve noticed, it changes you,” said Kordsmeier. “I didn’t just treat speech therapy, it treats the symptoms, helps you learn how to react and learn how to speak properly. This solves a lot of it.”

Want to learn more about SpeechEasy?

Check out their website at !

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