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Whisper Phone Review by Christine Field

Whisper Phone
3500 48th Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55429

When my son was younger, he would repeat to himself, in a whisper, what we said to him. He didn't do it all the time, just when he was tired or having trouble concentrating. It allowed him a few extra seconds to process and understand what had been said to him.

I wish I had known about Whisper Phone then! This is an interesting product that can be used in a variety of applications. It is an acoustic self-amplifier consisting of an earpiece and a plastic tube-like apparatus. The student speaks into the plastic tube, and their voice is conveyed directly into their ear so they can hear their own voice clearly. It is hands-free and comes in child and adult sizes.

Here is why this is important. Research shows that the basis of reading is auditory brain center development. The better a child can hear speech sounds, the more easily he develops phonemic awareness, which is the beginning of reading. The developers of this product propose that in order to read fluently, children should clearly hear and focus on their own speech at a favorable signal-to-noise ratio. In other words, they should be able to attend to, monitor, and correct their own speech.

The Whisper Phone serves to improve this signal-to-noise ratio to enhance the auditory feedback loop. The device filters out background noise so that children are able to hear their own whispered voice louder and more distinctly.

In the classroom, Whisper Phone can be used to improve students' comprehension and concentration in the areas of reading, writing, spelling, memory, and focus. Because it is self-amplification (rather than a microphone amplification that is broadcast to the entire classroom), students can use the device simultaneously without distracting each other.

At home, Whisper Phone can be used to boost the learning process. Your child will obtain added benefit from sounding things out and reading aloud.

In the special needs setting, clients can improve their articulation and sensory development by using Whisper Phone during therapy. Finally, adults can benefit when learning a new language, memorizing lines for a play, working on a singing voice, recovering from a stroke or brain injury, or studying for an exam.

The Whisper Phone website provides a wealth of information on the research behind this product and its applications. A book called The Sound of Learning: Why Self-Amplification Matters is also available. For the modest price of about $10.00 per set, Whisper Phone can be a dynamic aid to your learning program.

Product review by Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2007