Any ideas on an in-ear white noise device to help stutterers/stammerers?

Hi,

This is my first post. I don't know much about this kind of tech but am eager to learn. 

I want to build a hidden/discrete wireless earpiece which can play a short burst of white noise (1-2 seconds) when a button is pressed (see below for an explanation of why on earth I want to do this). The button would need to be able to trigger the white noise from a range of around 1 metre so that the controller can be kept in my trouser pocket.

There are earpieces around which play white noise (to help people sleep in noisy environments) but I want to be able to control whether or not the white noise is playing.

I thought about using a wireless earpiece (e.g.) with bluetooth, however it seems like the maximum range for this would be around 40cm.

Anyone know of alternatives? 

WHY WOULD I WANT TO?!

Individuals who stutter/stammer often experience blocks. It's not that you'll hear them repeating sounds or anything - their speech just totally freezes up. For reasons which aren't entirely clear, listening to white noise can help stutters who block to start talking. White noise can be played before trying to speak, disrupting our auditory feedback - resulting in less blocks.

Some devices have made use of this, e.g. Edinburgh Masker (http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster/edinburghmasker.html), but were ugly, bulky and didn't allow you to manually control when the white noise was playing. Other devices, like SpeechEasy make use of Delayed Auditory Feedback (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_fluency_device#Delayed_auditory_feedback) - which can help some people but is of no use if you aren't already making some kind of noise.


Is this impossible? 

Many thanks for anyone with ideas on this!
Cheers
Oli

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crapflinger4 years ago
i don't know HOW to accomplish the final product, but, I would imagine the in the ear part is probably not the bit you need to create. they've got loads of in ear things. Bluetooth headsets, ear pieces that work on any number of wireless signals. what you'd need is a transmitter that could work with an earpiece that's easy to get off the shelf.

with Bluetooth, it could be as simple as writing an app for your phone that would generate the desired sound when you press a button on the phone and then just wearing the Bluetooth earpiece. heck if you wrote a good enough app (that had lockscreen controls) you might be able to market it (or distribute it for free) to other stutterers
ocheadle (author)  crapflinger4 years ago
Thanks for that. I guess I was wondering if it would be possible to make the in-ear device more discrete than a bluetooth headset. More like the size of an ear-monitor, as Killerjackalope mentioned. Possibly just not feasible at present (there are some wireless, in-ear monitors around but they are mega expensive).

That's true about the potential of an app. Perhaps I should get working on that and wait for the bluetooth technology to catch up with my ambitions!

Cheers
forgot to come back to this. another thing that could be done with an app would be to have it actually trainable. where it could detect a "lock" through the microphone of the Bluetooth headset and play the noise automatically.

as for worrying about the descreteness of the headset. I've got two opinions on that.

first, people walk around with the things on all day already so I don't think it would be out of place enough to draw attention.

second, you're trying to do something to make yourself more comfortable with communicating with other people.....at that point, the goal of helping you get past your blocks should trump the weirdness of having the headset on. plus, you might be able to start up a neat conversation about why you're wearing it, how it helps, etc...
Search DIY in ear monitors... You just want white noise so incorporate whatever works to produce it in to the construction...
I am guessing the needs are for a portable stand-alone unit the the user activates(no need for throat mic feedback sensor) and probably discrete.

Maybe just take a greeting card soundchip/battery and mold that with sugru to fit in the ear. Press the ear to activate when needed? Whatever is on the soundchip could be distorted to make white noise?
ocheadle (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
Yes, you're right, no need for the throat-mic feedback sensor as there wouldn't be any vocal fold vibration when people block.

Thank you for that idea. I like the simplicity of just pressing a button on the ear-piece to activate the white noise. I looked into the kind of sound modules they use in cards and they seem to be too bulky to be used discretely used in-ear.

Some of those used in toys are smaller, but still a little big. The smallest diameter i could find was about 25-30mm (http://sz-royalstar.en.alibaba.com/product/437235336-210593362/Voice_Chip_for_plush_toy_Musical_chip_for_plush_toy.html), which is still a little bulky.

I have seen these little TV keychain fobs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aHeIj4rnZQ sold in bookstores etc.  Maybe you could gut one out and try.  They would probably turn out no bigger than a bluetooth device and I would think they use those tiny hearing aid coin cell batteries.  Good luck.
I was thinking more the unit itself would be good for construction, the in ear bit...

I do wonder, does rubbing your fingers together right beside your ear work? It's sort of white noise...