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WhisperPhone Review by Lorri Kwong

Harebrain, Inc.
3500 48th Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55429

The WhisperPhone is a lightweight, hands-free device that amplifies the user's voice so that he or she can clearly hear the sounds that make up words. It comes in two sizes--large (grade 5 to adult) and small (kindergarten through grade 4). Each WhisperPhone comes with a plastic headband, a hollow plastic mouthpiece, and the earpiece. The product is adjustable and can be used on either the left or right ear.

While the product does amplify the voice, it requires more than a whisper to be really effective. It seems to have been designed to work best in a traditional school setting--for example, in a foreign language class. Students who are repeating new vocabulary words as a group often cannot hear themselves speaking clearly. With the WhisperPhone, each student would hear his or her own voice clearly without having to speak too loudly, thus enabling students to self-correct their pronunciation. Another use in the classroom would be to aid new readers as they sound out words.

I had hoped that my son could use it while working on his math problems. He likes to work out loud, which can be a distraction to my daughter while she works at the same table. However, because we were sitting so close to each other, he was not able to talk softly enough to still have his voice amplified through the WhisperPhone while not being heard by my daughter.

The WhisperPhone could be used in the homeschool in a couple of different situations, similar to classroom use. A foreign language student could wear it for instant feedback on pronunciation. A struggling reader could wear it while sounding out words. A child undergoing speech therapy might also find it helpful. None of these situations applied to my family, so the product was not as useful for us. I would recommend the WhisperPhone for homeschool use only in these or similar circumstances. If the product came packaged with a foreign language program, I would probably use it. I do want to mention that my children, ages 6 and 8, found the smaller-size headband hurt their heads after a few minutes of wear.

Product review by Lorri Kwong, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2007