Speaking with a voice prosthesis is the most common method used today following total laryngectomy. It is also considered to be the most successful of the three methods for voice rehabilitation – creating the most natural sounding and fluent voice.
The voice prosthesis is placed in a small opening between the windpipe (your trachea) and food pipe (your esophagus). The opening is usually made during the surgery for you to be able to speak using your own voice as soon as possible.
How voice is created
After your surgery, all breathing takes place via the opening in your neck (also called a tracheostoma). When covering the stoma before exhalation, all the air from your lungs is directed from the windpipe, via the voice prosthesis, into the food pipe before reaching your mouth. When the exhaled air passes through the upper part of the esophagus, the surrounding tissue will start to vibrate. These vibrations create the sounds that end up as spoken words when shaped by the tongue and lips.
Speech with a voice prosthesis
The videos below will give you an idea of what it sounds like when you speak with a voice prosthesis. You can especially notice the difference between Tore speaking with an electrolarynx compared to his esophageal speech.
Advantages of speaking with a voice prosthesis:
- Easy to learn – functional speech achieved quickly.
- More normal voice quality – fluent speech with normal phrasing and longer phonation time.
- Usually the easiest to understand.