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Speech After Laryngectomy

Even though a total laryngectomy removes the entire larynx, most laryngectomees can acquire a new way of speaking. People normally speak by exhaling air from their lung to vibrate their vocal cords. These vibration sounds are modified in the mouth by the tongue, lips, and teeth to generate the sounds that create speech.  Although the vocal cords that are the source of the vibrating sounds are removed during total laryngectomy, other forms of speech can be created by using a new pathway for air and a different airway part to vibrate, or vibration can be generated by an artificial source placed on the outside of the throat or mouth and then using the

Depending on the type of surgery, a patient may be limited to one method or several. Each method has unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Speech is accomplished using one of three main methods:

  1. Electronic Larynx (artificial larynx)
  2. Tracheo-Esophageal Speech
  3. Espohageal Speech

Speech/language pathologists (SLPs) can assist and guide laryngectomees in the proper use of the methods and/or devices they use to obtain the most understandable speech. With actove voice rehabilitation, speech can improve considerably between six months and one year after total laryngectomy