NiNiSpeech in Channel 1 News


Hanan is 61 year old. He has always known that he is not like everyone else. He stutters. As a child, Hanan suffered from the taunts of other children. When he entered military service, the humiliation he experienced changed his life forever. In my personal interview, the commander told me that, due to my stuttering, I would not be able to become an officer. That’s when I decided that, despite my stuttering, I will become whatever I wish, and nothing will stop me. Today, Hanan lectures in Israel and other countries, and is considered an expert in security. Like Hanan, 80,000 people in Israel stutter. There is no real cure. Speech pathologists provide supportive therapy with various devices. But often, as soon as the stutterer leaves the clinic, he lapses back into stuttering. Yair’s son was born a stutterer. Witnessing the suffering from up-close triggered within Yair, a high-tech executive, the determination to join forces with speech experts to develop a revolutionary application in the field of stuttering therapy. Stuttering therapy today is similar to going on a diet without a scale. There is no way to measure. No one can quantify the stuttering, neither the person who stutters nor the clinician. Now, an application can measure the severity of the stuttering. This is the very first time that stuttering is being quantified by computer. In research, this is considered the Holy Grail of the world of stuttering. Here, we can view the performance of a patient. We can quantify her daily progress. Her first exercise was on this date. She achieved a score of 72%. We can see that on the next day, she improved by a few percent. The application even provides feedback to stutterers as they speak – on the current state of their speech and their progress. I found out that it is more effective for me to practice with other people. We developed a system that provides interesting content to discuss since, naturally, people who stutter are not the world’s greatest talkers. The system enables the stutterer to speak with other people in the community while receiving immediate feedback on the quality of speech. The application was launched just a couple of months ago, and it has already been taken up by leading clinics in the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and other countries. Yair’s company received initial support from the Merage Institute which provided capital to start the venture. A comprehensive study is now being conducted at Tel Aviv University with app users reporting on life before the application…. and better life after.

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