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Can Stuttering Be Contagious?

Recently I was seeing a patient who was left with somewhat of a stutter after a prior stroke. It was a long history and probably longer for the patient, who had to work very hard to be understood through an unwanted speech impediment.

Inexplicably, when I walked out of the room I started to stutter, too — I wasn’t trying to make light of the patient’s problem, and I had to stop talking for a few moments before I could speak in my normal cadence.  It was super-strange, like my brain heard the new cadence and said “Oh, that’s how you do it.”  Awful.

It was embarrassing and weird. Fortunately the patient didn’t hear it, and I apologized to the staff who did. I have no idea why my mouth-brain connection picked that anomaly to repeat. Strange.

Anyone else have this?

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

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3 Responses to “Can Stuttering Be Contagious?”

  1. Michael says:

    Yes, I get this all the time after talking to someone with a stutter.

    It is a tad annoying cause I don’t want them thinking I am making fun of them by “mocking” their stutter.

  2. Sarah says:

    This has happened to me a lot. In my case, however, I’m the stutterer. Lots of my friends, my cousin, and my roommate have told me how they’ve ‘caught’ my stutter. In most cases I don’t really notice when they stutter, but they’ve reported how they do it all the time now. One of my friends, who used to stutter a lot when he was younger, stopped it by himself but most of my other friends (and especially my cousin) still stutter a lot. So weird!

  3. Craig Fenn says:

    I have stuttered my whole life. everytime i hang out with friends for a long period of time they start to stutter too. mine isnt too bad but when im around friends it gets worse and they end up picking it up too. its almost comical, but still very frustrating.
    i now have a 3 year old who is starting to stutter and i really hope he isnt picking it up from me. i do not stutter that much at home and i hear it is common for you children to stutter and grow out of it. i am especially worried since i have stuttered my whole life and really know the hardships of it.

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