United States Patent 3556093

Two balls are connected by a deformable wire. The wire is malleable but capable of retaining the shape into which it is formed and is preferably covered with a soft plastic. The ends of the wire have a press fit in sockets in the balls and can be cut to a length such that, when the wire is U-shaped, the balls can be inserted under the sides of the tongue at the back of the mouth, the base of the U of the wire lying against the back of the lower front teeth.

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International Classes:
A61F5/58; (IPC1-7): A61F5/58
Field of Search:
128/137,136,139,132,133 32
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Primary Examiner:
Eager, Adele M.
I claim

1. A speech aid adapted to be worn in the mouth, comprising a pair of solid spheroidal balls adapted to be placed under the sides of the tongue and a connecting wire having its ends secured in a socket in a respective ball, the wire being deformable, and of a material having a memory for retaining its formed shape, and being of a length to retain the balls adjacent the back molar teeth under the tongue when formed in a U-shaped with the base of the U lying against the back of the front teeth of the lower jaw.

2. The speech aid defined in claim 1 characterized by the wire being of soft stainless steel covered with a thin layer of soft plastic material unaffected by fluids and tissues of the mouth, the covered wire ends being removably received in the ball sockets, whereby the aid may be self-fitted by clipping the wires ends to the desired length and bending to the desired shape.


This invention relates to a speech aid worn in the mouth and more particularly relates to easily adjustable means for retaining the device in position.

It has long been known that when a bulky object is inserted under each side of the tongue it aids in articulation and preventing stuttering and stammering.

Such speech aids, however, have heretofore been uncomfortable and bulky to wear and have been either molded to fit the individual mouth or have been manufactured in a plurality of sizes necessitating lengthy and expensive fitting procedures.


The invention contemplates two metal or plastic balls held in place beneath the back of the tongue by a U-shaped malleable wire whose ends are fitted in sockets in the balls. The wire is plastic coated to be more comfortable and bent portion of the wire which fits against the back of the lower front teeth has been found to prevent lisping by tempting the tip of the tongue to explore it. The ends of the wire can be removed from the balls and clipped to shorten the wire for those with short lower jaws.

The principal object of the invention is to provide a speech aid which can be self-fitted, worn concealed in the mouth, and which is not uncomfortable to wear.

Another important object is to provide such a speech aid which can be economically made but which will aid in articulation, prevent stammering, stuttering and lisping, and which will improve the timbre and quality of the voice.


FIG. 1 is a diagrammatical plan view, as worn, of a speech aid according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatical side elevational view thereof; and

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatical fragmentary plan view of a lower jaw, partly in section, showing the device in use.


The speech aid device 10 comprises two balls 11 connected by a plastic-coated wire member 12 bent into a U-shape.

The member 12 is reinforced by a central core 13 of stainless steel which is nontoxic, being of a type presently used in heart surgery. The wire 13 is malleable, being easily digitally bent to any shape desired. It has considerable memory, however, and retains its shape once it is formed to the desired configuration. Wire 13 is covered with a plastic coating 14, preferably of pharos polymers which is soft and pliable and renders the device more comfortable to wear.

The balls 11 are of stainless steel or of plastic and may be spheres, as shown, or may be spheroidal. Each ball has a socket 15 into which the end 16 of the plastic-coated wire fits with a press fit. The balls may be supplied in different sizes one-fourth inch; three-eighths inch and one-half inch in diameter, for example.

The coated wire member 12, shown diagrammatically in FIGS. 1 and 2, has a central wire 13 of about 16 gage and is covered with a coating of plastic 14 to a total thickness of about three thirty-seconds inch total diameter. Member 12 may be from about 2 inches in length to about 3 inches for persons with long jaws.

Since the ends 16 of member 12 are removable from the sockets 15 in the balls, the member 12 may be easily shortened by the wearer by clipping off both ends or by clipping off one end and reshaping the member.

The base 17 or curved portion of the U-shaped member is adapted to fit against the back of the front teeth 20 of the lower jaw 21, as shown in FIG. 3, the length of member 12 being such as to place the balls in the region of the back two molars 22 on either side of the base 23 of the tongue, the tongue itself lying on top of the balls.

This raises the tongue muscles and gives then a support when the muscles are weak or dormant. With the support afforded by the balls 11 the muscles are strengthened when the device 10 is used in talking or singing, immediate improvement in voice tone and timbre being apparent in some users. Using the device for a period of time improves articulation for speakers and singers, assists stammerers and stutterers in overcoming their impediment, and has been known to improve a singer's voice by opening the throat as the tongue muscle is developed.

Further correction may be obtained by bending the member 12 as shown in FIG. 2. This effects a further raising of the tongue by the balls 11 and has been found to assist in correcting a lisp, the tongue, playing with the forward end 17 of member 12, is assisted in being kept from protruding between the teeth in talking.

The device 10 may be worn concealed during the day and removed for meals and during the night.

As will be apparent to those familiar with the art, the invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The embodiment disclosed, therefore, is to be considered in all respects as illustrative rather than restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims.