Changing the world. One podcast at a time – Tricia Hedinger

Tricia HedingerAbout the Author:

Tricia Hedinger, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-F is a clinical associate professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Knoxville, TN.  She is Vice Chair of the World Stuttering Network and host of the podcast “Stutter Stories.”   Ms. Hedinger is the co-author (with Thad Cox, Sr.) of the novel “Bullyblossom: A Tale of Overcoming Bullies and Embracing Stuttering to Live a Life of Achievement” released in 2019.  She has passion for addressing bullying in schools, fostering unique outdoor education programs and developing support group networks around the world. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, podcast explosions occurred all around the world.  As of August 2021, adults presented with a substantial increase in podcast listening.  If we look at 2021 statistics, we know that 41% of the total US population (116 million Americans) over the age of 12 can be considered at least monthly podcast listeners which is up from 37% in the previous year. At least 28% (80 million) are habitual weekly podcast listeners which is up from 24%.  And 78% of Americans (222 million people) are at least familiar with podcasts as a form of media. (The Infinite Dial, 2021)  

In a community where many people crave to hear voices of others who stutter, podcasts present us with yet another opportunity to make connections. There are 25 + podcasts about stuttering as of August 2021.  Themes cater to various populations and interests.  International stutter stories, women who stutter, research, humor, and support are among a few of the topics that can be heard through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google and other channels where podcasts can be heard.  Both teens and adults have easy access to information, anecdotes, narratives, hope and inspiration about life with a stutter.  The benevolent work of PWS continues to evolve with technology and results in far-reaching impact around the globe. 

We have known for many years the benefits of support groups.  Research shows that people who attend support groups have increased comfort in their personal lives, increased competence in their work lives, higher psychological well-being and decreased internalized stigma (Boyle, 2013).  When PWS gather around a table (or in a Zoom room), they have opportunities to:

  • Hear other people stutter
  • Learn new information
  • Share in the experiences of others
  • Listen to the strategies and ideas of others
  • Make new connections
  • Tell their own story
  • Talk openly without fear of criticism 

(Ramig, 1993; Yaruss, 2002)

Podcasts enable PWS to connect with others in many ways similar to support groups.  While it does not match the full value of a dynamic group that includes back and forth discussion and opportunity to talk freely with others, it does offer an added feature of convenience.  Those who feel immediate need for connection with the stuttering community may tune in to a podcast on a topic of their choice at any given time.  Podcasts are available 24/7 and listeners may search for an episode that relates to their specific moment.  Subscribers receive notifications when new episodes are released and can choose to listen at a time that suits their schedule.

Additionally, PWS may issue themselves a challenge to become a guest on a podcast and share their own story.  Hosts search for new guests with different experiences to share.  There is often no need to be a researcher, celebrity, author or well-known individual in the stuttering community.  Most podcasts were started with the specific intent to connect PWS and provide a platform for sharing voices.  

Podcasts turn a drive to work into a moment of connection.  They change workouts and long walks into a learning opportunity.  And they change tedious housework into an inspirational moment. This simple media tool allows people from all corners of the earth to share their voices with a far reach.  Creating, hosting and participating in podcasts is yet another way that PWS have risen together to change the world.  Check out Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or wherever you like to get your podcasts.  Type in “stuttering” and see what inspires you!    



Boyle, M. (2013) Psychological characteristics and perceptions of stuttering of adults who stutter with and without support group experience. J. of Fluency Disorders, 38(4)

Ramig, P. (1993). The impact of self-help groups on persons who stutter: A call for research. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 18, 351–361.

Yaruss, J.S., Quesal, R., Reeves, L., Molt, L., Kluetz, B., Caruso, A. McClure, J., Lewis, F. (2002) Speech treatment and support group experiences of people who participate in the National Suttering Association. J. of Fluency Disorders, 27, 115-134

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Changing the world. One podcast at a time – Tricia Hedinger — 21 Comments

  1. Hi Tricia,
    There are so many benefits of listening podcasts! they teach us things we do not learn from books. Thanks for sharing!


    • Awesome, Fernanda!

      I think podcasts are such a great way for PWS to simply HEAR the voices of others who stutter. Glad to know you are out there listening!


  2. If anyone wants to provide a link to their favorite podcast or their own podcast, and tell us a little bit about it, that’s totally cool with me! Share it with the world.
    Tricia 😃

    • Hello Tricia I read your paper yesterday then re read it today because when I read it the first time it gave me so much to think about .Because when I wrote my first paper for this site the amazing Pamela Mertz contacted me told me of her page Stutter rock and invited me to do a pod cast with her. I was really nervous but she was so lovely and encouraging so I did it and it was an amazing exeperience. Thanks for writing your paper I realised things I hadnt realised before like how important and popular pod casts had become and what another effective way for us all to help each other .kind regards Phyllis.

      • That’s awesome, Phyllis! Being a guest on a podcast is a great way to stretch your comfort zone, isn’t it?? It can make you nervous and thrilled all at the same time. What a great accomplishment. Thanks for reading!

        Tricia 🙂

  3. I have never thought about all the potential benefits of listening to a podcast, thank you! I’m encouraged to continue to spread awareness of this resource.

    • Thanks for reading! There are so many options out there right now. All different kinds of podcasts with different themes and styles. You can choose what speaks to you. Sometimes it’s just nice to connect with the stuttering community and hear voices or stories that relate to your moment. Happy listening!

      Tricia 😃

  4. Thank you for posting this, podcasts can be so powerful and I love thinking of this benefit of them for people. I was wondering what first inspired you to start your own podcast?

    • Thank you for reading! The purpose of Stutter Stories was to have people who were NOT researchers, celebrities, or leaders in the stuttering community come on as a guest to tell their story. We want to hear stories from all around the world told by everyday people at all points in their journey. PWS almost always have a relevant story to share… a story that might reach another just when needed. Being a guest on any show is a great opportunity to stretch your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Making connections all across the world… that’s the point of everything we do in the stuttering support community!

      Much appreciation,

  5. Congratulations Tricia, Jia, Jhoan, and Cynthia on the success of Stutter Stories! I enjoy listening to the episodes during my work commute. I appreciate the depth of the interview. Even though I’m good friends with some of your interviewees, I’ve learned new things about them.
    Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

  6. Hey Tricia, your paper helps display the power of communicating and sharing stories. Especially for PWS having a platform where they can share their story or be heard can benefit many people who may not understand. Through podcast we can educate and inspire others, and help change perspectives just by listening.
    Thank you,

  7. Hello Tricia, I never knew that there were so many perks to listening to a podcast till now. It is a great way for future SLPs to learn about PWS. What motivated you to create the “Stutter Stories” podcast?

    Thank you,


  8. Hi Tricia,
    Congratulations on your novel!
    Your paper is also really encouraging and highlights the power of outlets of communication like podcasts. It’s important that all PWS’s have a platform where they can be free when the world outside is rough. I appreciated how you clearly outline the various places and ways where any one can find stories about stuttering. Do you have any specific recommendations of podcasts that you think clinicians should follow to gain more perspective?

    ~Elilta Zellalem

  9. I love the thought of people being able to find support in different forms when they might not be able to meet in-person or aren’t ready for that for that next step yet. As a future SLP, are there podcasts that you would recommend for younger children who stutter vs. teens who stutter vs. adults who stutter to listen for support? Have you found that parents who have children with stutters can find similar support through podcasts? Thank you for such great insight.

  10. I am currently an SLP graduate student and this is a great resource to potentially share with my future clients, thank you! I never would have thought about podcasts. Very convenient, especially with the podcast app being right on an iPhone.

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