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Health > Stuttering


Fifty-five million people around the world stutter, and most are men. Stuttering is four times more common among men than women, a phenomenon that is not totally understood. Indeed, researchers have not determined the exact cause of stuttering. One thing is certain: stuttering is embarrassing and frustrating for many men, and it can control their lives.

Many men who stutter choose professions in which they don't have to talk or talk little, They're less likely to seek better jobs or a raise in rank because they are often accompanied by more speaking opportunities. Stuttering also hinders men's willingness to socialize.


Stuttering is commonly described as a condition in which the flow of speech is broken by abnormal stoppages, repetitions or prolongation of sounds and syllables. Stuttering, while not the worst of handicaps, certainly can be one of the most frustrating. Unlike other disabilities, stuttering has the mystifying and maddening habit of coming and going. Even if you stutter badly, chances are that you will be perfectly fluent when singing, talking in unison with other people, and in certain speaking situations.

Theories about the cause of stuttering are still not fully understood today. Over the years, they have included the ideas that stuttering results from a collision of ideas, or an unwillingness to utter unspeakable thoughts, or that it reflects abnormal sexual fixations.


Male children tend to be more delayed in speech and language than females of the same age. Thus males are at a deficit when it comes to speech and language development.

Speech and language centers in male brains are localized in the left hemisphere. In women, they are distributed in both hemispheres, which gives them more flexibility. Speech and language abilities of those who stutter shift partly to the right hemisphere. It follows that it's not a big deal for women because they have the cellular structure to handle speech and language in the right hemisphere, but men have less capacity."


While stuttering has long been acknowledged as a familial disorder, the actual nature of a genetic component remains unclear to scientists. It appears that 40 percent of children who stutter have someone in their immediate family with a history of stuttering and 70 percent have an immediate or extended family relative with a stuttering history.

No doubt that because of what we experience as people who stutter—being different, feeling different, having lower self- esteem—those experiences lead to emotional psychological byproducts. You start to fear speaking situations, saying your name, making phone calls. When you're fearful, your muscles tighten. Muscular tension increases stuttering and makes it worse.

Along with the vocal difficulties, those who stutter often nod, squeeze their fists, and blink their eyes in an attempt to force the words out. These gestures make those who stutter more self-conscious.


It's not unusual to see men who stutter who are discouraged...who think they can't change. But it's very rare for me to see a person who stutters who can't make a change if he gets the right therapy or support group.

Many of us who stutter are no longer handicapped by it. It is triggered sometimes, but even then it is minimal compared to what it used to be.

The worst enemy of stuttering is the person who stutters. People want to push and force past it. Pushing and forcing makes stuttering worse." Rather than use force, some men use humor.

Many men seek treatment when they reach a turning point in their lives, such as:

Going off to college where stuttering may hold them back socially and academically Seeking career advancement, which often involves increased communication skills Graduating from college and facing the job market and interviews Being denied, or suspecting that they were denied, a promotion because they stutter Some men seek help when they start a family, because they are afraid their child might learn to stutter from them. This is an unfounded fear.


Two therapeutic approaches, and a third that combines the two, are used to treat people who stutter.

Modification therapy, helps people learn to confront their fears about stuttering rather than avoid them. This approach allows them to stutter in an easier, forward flowing fashion. Through confronting stuttering you confront your fears. As you confront your fears you become less fearful. The reward is much more fluency later on."

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