Lisping and The Rainbow Passage

I’m convinced that the only way I’m going to overcome my lisp from my lingual brace is to practice, practice, practice. The Rainbow Passage is a piece of text designed to contain all the sound combinations in the English language in roughly the same proportion as they occur in everyday speech. I’ve found it useful in identifying the sounds that cause me trouble with my braces so I can give them extra attention.

{via Picasa}

The Rainbow Passage

When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colours. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon.

There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries people have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain. The Norsemen considered the rainbow as a bridge over which the gods passed from earth to their home in the sky.

Others have tried to explain the phenomenon physically. Aristotle thought that the rainbow was caused by reflection of the sun’s rays by the rain. Since then physicists have found that it is not reflection, but refraction by the raindrops which causes the rainbows.

Many complicated ideas about the rainbow have been formed. The difference in the rainbow depends considerably upon the size of the drops, and the width of the coloured band increases as the size of the drops increases. The actual primary rainbow observed is said to be the effect of super-imposition of a number of bows. If the red of the second bow falls upon the green of the first, the result is to give a bow with an abnormally wide yellow band, since red and green light when mixed form yellow. This is a very common type of bow, one showing mainly red and yellow, with little or no green or blue.


Back to work!

{via See Me Everywhere}

It’s day six with my top lingual brace and today was my first day back at work so I thought I’d pop over and give you a very quick update.

  • My lisp still feels quite pronounced, but I think it’s gradually getting better day by day. I spoke to my Mum on the phone tonight and she said she “couldn’t hear any slooshing at all” [quote] but she might’ve just been trying to make me feel better!
  • I went completely wax-less (I feel pretty brave about that).
  • I’m not in any pain at all.
  • Nobody laughed at me / looked at me weird / called me metal mouth… not that I’d expected them to of course!
  • Everyone who I’d previously told about getting my brace was amazed that you can’t see it at all.
  • My lisp definitely gets worse when I speak too fast. I tend to do this when I’m anxious (which I have been today, each time I needed to speak) so it’s a bit of a catch 22. I’m going to work on calming down and taking my time.
  • Over-thinking what you’re going to say doesn’t help either. From now on I plan to say whatever comes to mind and try not to stop/stumble if I lisp on a particular word.
  • When you tell people you have a brace almost everyone has a teenage brace story to tell you (and ends up saying they wish they could’ve had one like mine back in their day). And nearly everyone says their teeth have moved back. Retainers, retainers, retainers people!
  • I felt a bit weird having to brush my teeth after lunch in the bathroom at work, but I reckon I’ll get used to it.
  • In a cruel twist of fate, I discovered that my job title is impossible to say with braces. Do you think that’s grounds to ask for a promotion?!

So, at the end of the day I’m feeling quite positive. Physically my jaw is a bit achy today (could be that I’m a bit tense with the stress of being back at work?) and I can feel my speech is ‘lazy’ (and therefore lispy) tonight with tiredness.

I think the whole experience of getting a lingual brace is generally pretty overwhelming, so if you possibly can, it’s well worth taking a few extra days off work after having it fitted if you can. At the very least, try and get an appointment on a Friday so you have the weekend to get used to things.

Listen to my lisp!

{via FFW}

I decided to record myself speaking to get a feel for how I might sound to others. As an experiment I recorded myself reading the same passage without wax and then after applying orthodontic wax to all of the brackets. These recordings were done three days after my top brace was fitted. Each recording lasts about 30 seconds.

I grabbed a book from my coffee table at random and opened it on a real tongue twister of a paragraph about garden design. I’ll write the passage out below so you can practice yourself if you like.



What do you think?

To me, my lisp sounds better on these recordings than it does in real life. I haven’t worked out if that’s because the voice recorder isn’t sensitive enough, or if lots of the hissing sounds more obvious to me because it’s inside my own head!!!

Here’s the passage – try it and you’ll see there are loads of sound combinations that are really tricky to say with a lingual brace, so it’s a good one to practice with.

“Small should not mean twee or bijou because this defeats the object of enjoying and feeling at ease in your little garden. Similarly, prissiness and over-meticulousness have the effect of emphasizing smallness. But you can have fun playing with reflections and tricks of illusion which confuse the boundaries and widen the horizons of your space. The use of optical techniques, involving line, scale and colour, can be surprisingly effective in creating real deceptions.”

PS: I chose this photograph to illustrate this post because this is exactly how speaking with my brace feels to me… like your mouth knows where it should be but can’t find the right position!!!

First 48 hours with lingual braces: speech

{via Etsy}

I think for many people, the lisping is the most worrying factor when choosing a lingual brace. You’ve picked an invisible brace because you’d rather people didn’t know you had one, but then when you speak they’ll know something’s up!

I had my brace fitted on a Friday and also took the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off work to give myself a clear five days to get used to my brace and practice my speech. Today’s Sunday and I’m still lisping but number of sounds that cause me trouble is gradually reducing.

D, S, T and soft C are the ones you’re going to struggle with most. After 48 hours I’ve mastered all of these sounds in isolation (and when concentrating and not gabbling too fast!) but combinations of these sounds are still difficult, for example:

stick, adjust, cupboards, dice, instead, orthodontist, practice

I’ve found it useful to speak slowly in front of the mirror as it helps to see how your mouth moves as you speak and try to hone the sounds by saying them again and again, and exaggerating them as much as you can.

I also found it useful to put on my favourite songs and sing along… for some reason it’s easier to sing words than speak them in normal conversation so this was good practice and a confidence-booster to begin with. TIP: if you know it, Starman by David Bowie has a lot of complicated ‘s’ sounds to try and get your tongue around!

“some cat was laying down some rock and roll, lotta soul he said” … NIGHTMARE!!!

I’ll do another speech update after 5 days with my lingual brace and hope I’ll have some improvements to report before heading back to the office. However, in my experience the lisping from my brace is no worse than someone who has a mild lisp normally. Kind of a hissing lisp, rather than the kind that sounds like you might get spat on, if you know what I mean!!!

First 48 hours with lingual braces: eating

{via For the Love of Food}

I have to be honest. If you’re getting a lingual brace don’t expect to be eating your favourite foods any time soon!

48 hours in, I am struggling to eat anything that you can’t swallow without any chewing whatsoever. Smoothies, yogurt, rice pudding and soup have been my staples. I’ve also had a go at eating some scrambled eggs and avocado, which were ok but not quite as easy to manage.

As I have stuff on my back teeth to stop them biting together it feels like I have no useful chewing surface at all. Also, I’ve been surprised at just how much you use your tongue when chewing (you think it’s only a job for your teeth!) but I’ve become very aware of how much the tongue is used to move the food to different surfaces in your mouth when you chew. Mainly this feels like your tongue is scraping over every bracket and wire in your mouth… ouch!

I’m going to try some fish and mashed potato tonight (my most ambitious meal yet) so we’ll see how that goes!

First 48 hours with a lingual brace: pain

{via The Curious Brain}

Overall, I think I’d have to say that my first 48 hours with my lingual brace has been as expected: it hurts a bit, I lisp a bit, it’s a bit hard to eat.

I’d describe my top brace as sore, but not painful. For about the first twelve hours I wasn’t in pain at all. When I woke up on the first day I noticed one of my teeth aching a little – the kind of feeling you’d get if you pressed on a tooth really hard – I was meeting a friend that morning so I took some ibuprofen just in case it got worse and didn’t feel anything more after that. One or two of my teeth hurt if you press them now, but ordinarily they’re fine.

At the end of day one I could definitely feel my tongue starting to bother me – a kind of raw sensation and a bit of redness around the edge where it’s in contact with the brackets but no ulcers yet. It definitely helps to use some wax or Gishy Goo on the brackets and wires you can feel the most. At night I put Gishy Goo over all of the front four brackets as I knew my tongue would be resting there and that really helped. I also used a mouth ulcer product called Iglu over the sore edge of my tongue which was amazing (I will write a full product review here at some point). I’d definitely recommend you get some so you can treat any sore areas before they get too bad.

One thing I would say is that I sleep with my mouth closed, but if you normally sleep with your mouth open try not too… I can imagine the pain on your tongue overnight would be much worse if your mouth was dry. I’ve heard that nasal strips (the sort you can buy for a cold) can help.

MY TEETH: top lingual brace – day 2

It’s pretty tricky to get a decent photo showing my top lingual brace but hopefully this will give you an idea at least…

top-brace-day-2{© Inside I’m Smiling}

As you can see there are several different sorts of wire connecting the brackets as I mentioned yesterday. You can also see that the tooth that protrudes most doesn’t have a bracket yet… it will be connected once some space has been created.

TIP: if you don’t already have one, invest in a round cosmetic mirror… it’s the only way you’ll be able to see your top brace and is really handy for checking for anything caught in your wires or brackets. And it means you can take hilarious photos of the inside of your mouth of course!