A new online treatment is being pioneered by researchers at the University of East Anglia to help some of the 70 million people around the world who stammer.

The treatment is funded by the National Institute for Health Research as part of their Research for Patient Benefit Programme and looks to help those who stammer with social anxiety, something that they may experience.

Around 720,000 people in the UK experience stammering, with recent films like The King’s Speech helping to raise awareness of the condition and ways it can be treated.

This new treatment will see participants take part in a trial of online computer-based sessions, which will last four weeks.

The project is led by Dr Jan McAllister from UEA’s School of Allied Health Professions. She said: “For many children who begin to stammer, the condition will resolve itself – either spontaneously or with therapy. But for some people, stammering persists into adulthood and can be the source of negative reactions, including bullying, from others.

“Our research will look at whether taking part in online computer-based tasks could help. This approach has been successful for people who have high levels of social anxiety who do not stammer.

“We hope that the treatment will have a very real and positive impact on the lives of people who stammer by providing an alternative or adjunct treatment for social anxiety.”

Researchers will measure social anxiety and speech fluency immediately before and after treatment, and then again after four months. Participants will be randomly allocated to the treatment condition or to a placebo control condition.