How it works

Balbus is the result of many years of experience in treating stuttering.

After years of research and experimentation in the medical field, a new method has been formulated and created using technological tools and putting them at the service of medicine.

Starting from the assumption that every learning of a new skill requires systematic, continuous and immediate feedback, aimed at orienting and guiding the action correctly, the Istituto Santa Chiara had already thought of Balbus in 2000.

Balbus provides real-time feedback and checks on the performance of the exercises to allow for immediate correction.

The promise is attractive and truthful: two sessions a day of 30/45 minutes of exercise with Balbus tools will allow the stuttering subject to cure this disfluency.

Little girl tries the Balbus Metronome

A new way to talk

The stutterer has learned a language model over time that does not facilitate communication: hesitations, interruptions, long pauses, word substitutions, etc.

Eliminating such a model cannot be achieved simply with outpatient facilitation exercises, such as slower speech, stretching the first letter of the word, using a gentle start; with the invitation to train further at home.

To modify the disfluency, there is a need for continuous and systematic training and a system that verifies, at all times, the correctness of the performance.

This is what Balbus does: using these tools with constancy, hesitation, interruptions, long pauses and word substitution will become less and less frequent until they almost disappear.

Continuous practice will produce an over learning that will automate the learning of the new and much-longed-for way of speaking, i.e. fluency.

Balbus tools and technologies

Balbus consists of numerous tools, which flank the most modern of technologies, designed to provide you with the maximum amount of useful data to document your progress.
This section will present the specific tools and technologies that make up Balbus.

Voice recognition

Balbus includes a voice recognition engine that allows you to check the correct pronunciation when reading passages, or that will perform a transcription of the speech in the case of free conversation.
The correct functioning of voice recognition is based on: a stable Internet connection, the use of Google Chrome as a browser and the performance of the exercise in a silent environment.

Summary statistics

At the end of each exercise, it will be possible to view and print a complete report containing all the information collected during the duration of the exercise.
Each report is edited according to the type of exercise performed and the related information is saved in the personal profile to allow you to always have the data of all previous exercises available and therefore monitor your improvement over time.

Recording exercise

All tutorials are recorded to allow the session to be played back; you can also download the audio track to your computer.
No data and no registration made on the platform is saved on Balbus servers, privacy is a serious matter!

Song reading or free conversation

Balbus contains reading passages that are constantly updated to ensure a new experience and to prevent the possibility of learning them by heart during the continuous exercises, as this falsifies the project’s success.
In addition to this, Balbus, through the exercises performed in free conversation, allows you to practice even by reading an article on the web from the blog that attracts your attention, or a short article from your favourite magazine, a recipe of the best dish you have ever cooked, something from your favourite book or even dictating an email then copying the transcribed text.

Balbus exercises

You can choose different types of exercise:

  1. Timed reading
  2. Voice Biofeedback
  3. Delayed Auditory Feedback – D.A.F.
  4. Metronome
  5. Binaural masking
Woman uses Balbus's timed reading

Exercise 1

Timed reading

The first exercise of Balbus consists in reading a passage word for word. The text is displayed using the technique of lateral masking; only the current word is readable, obscuring the rest of the text. The reading speed will be scanned by the Reading frequency parameter, which can be customised for each exercise, allowing the subject’s speed of verbal fluency to be adjusted.

Therapeutic goal

The goal of the exercise is to get used to reading slowly, thus extinguishing the tachylalic behaviour typical of stammering, reaching the pronunciation of ~40/45 words per minute, perfect for reading or for clear, fluent conversation. Through lateral masking of the text, you will avoid distractions due to the following words, respecting the chosen reading time.

Exercise 2

Voice Biofeedback

Voice Biofeedback is the cornerstone of Balbus.

Whether you choose to read a predefined passage or to have free conversation, the goal of
this exercise is not to exceed a maximum volume, expressed in decibels, during speech.

The real-time graphic display of the voice and sound feedback will allow you to instantly understand if you have exceeded the maximum allowed volume, enabling you to modulate your voice again.

Therapeutic goal

The correct way of speaking is learned through continuous and immediate feedback in order to stay within the chosen volume range. Any verbal emission outside this range is promptly reported to the subject through acoustic and visual feedback, who will be led to make instant correction in this way.

Exercise 3

Delayed Auditory Feedback – D.A.F.

D.A.F. allows you to listen to your voice with a delay chosen at the beginning of the exercise. By making the vocal emission coincide with that of the D.A.F. by prolonging the syllables, you will learn to slow down the speed of your speech.

Therapeutic goal

By extending the interphonemic space during speech, subjects will not only learn to speak more slowly, but also to decrease the tension of the phonation muscles, improving the quality of their conversation more and more.

Exercise 4

Metronome

There is a metronome in Balbus that marks time by the number of beats per minute. In an interval, you will have to say one word and only one word.

Therapeutic goal

The subject, who usually has a disharmony in the muscle groups responsible for breathing, phonation and articulation, can, by programming the speed of the metronome, make an emission of words and phrases in tune with the respiratory rhythm.

Exercise 5

Binaural masking

Binaural masking consists of the continual reproduction of a broadband noise in headphones, through which it will be impossible to listen to one’s voice during speech.

Therapeutic goal

Through the verb-acoustic interruption, disfluent subjects cannot hear their own voice during the conversation. In this way, the phobic conditioning, i.e. the link between critical situations and the anxious reaction of the subject, will be eliminated, thus improving one’s own fluent speech. In this particular exercise, the audio recording of the exercise plays a crucial role for the subject; in fact, this will be the only evidence of proper elocution.

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Contacts

Do you have questions about how Balbus works? Do you have any doubts about the payment methods? Do you want to request support for the first use? Contact us now, we will respond to all your requests.

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