Stuttering is a speech disorder. If you stutter, you may know what you want to say but find it hard to get the words out. The words may seem to get stuck, or you may find yourself repeating them over and over. You may also pause at certain syllables.

Stuttering affects people of all ages, but it’s most commonly seen in children ages 2 to 6. About 75 percent of children lose this stutter with time.

The remaining 25 percent experience this disorder throughout adulthood. About 3 million children and adults in the United States are affected.

Although stuttering can’t be completely cured, there are a few things that you can do to improve your speech.

One of the more effective ways to stop a stutter is to talk slowly. Rushing to complete a thought can cause you to stammer, speed up your speech, or have trouble getting the words out. Taking a few deep breaths and speaking slowly can help control the stutter.

Reach out to a close friend or family member to see if they can sit with you and talk. Practicing your speech in a safe environment may help you feel more at ease with yourself and the way that your speech sounds.

Joining a self-help group with other people who stutter may also be beneficial. You can learn what works for other people when they’re speaking in public or even in small groups of friends.

In some cases, a specialized ear device called as a speech monitor may be helpful. These devices use delayed and frequency-altered feedback software to help you speak more fluently.

Much like a hearing aid, the device attaches to the inside of the user’s ear. The software changes the sound of your voice and delays the sound by a fraction of a second. This can help you slow your speech and enable you to speak without a stutter.

Although there is some research to support the device’s efficacy, it isn’t clear whether these effects are long-term.

These devices often cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500, so it’s important to be sure that this is the best option for you. Talk with your doctor about what benefits an ear device may offer and whether there are any financial assistance programs available.

Your doctor may also be able to recommend a more affordable device to help with your speech.

Check out: Hearing and speech impairment resources »

If you’re talking with someone who has a stutter, it’s important that you let them speak at their own pace. Trying to rush their speech will only make it more difficult for them to finish sharing their thoughts.

You also shouldn’t try to finish their sentences for them. Be patient and allow them finish on their own. Not only will this help them work on their stuttering, it can have a positive impact on their overall sense of well-being.

Long-term support is crucial to helping your loved one work through their stutter.

Learn more: Stuttering in children »

There isn’t a cure for stuttering, but it can be effectively managed. Practicing and embracing your speech may help reduce your stutter over time.

Developing a supportive network of family and friends is key. You may even find it beneficial to join a support group for people who stutter. A certified speech pathologist can give you personalized tips.