Assessment of alaryngeal speech using a sound-producing voice prosthesis in relation to sex and pharyngoesophageal segment tonicity

M. Van Der Torn, C. D.L. Van Gogh, I. M. Verdonck-De Leeuw, J. M. Festen, G. J. Verkerke, H. F. Mahieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background. A pneumatic artificial sound source incorporated in a regular tracheoesophageal shunt valve may improve alaryngeal voice quality. Methods. In 20 laryngectomees categorized for sex and pharyngoesophageal segment tonicity, a prototype sound-producing voice prosthesis (SPVP) is evaluated for a brief period and compared with their regular tracheoesophageal shunt speech. Results. Perceptual voice evaluation by an expert listener and acoustical analysis demonstrate a uniform rise of vocal pitch when using the SPVP. Female laryngectomees with an atonic pharyngoesophageal segment gain vocal strength with the SPVP. Exerted tracheal pressure and airflow rate are equivalent to those required for regular tracheoesophageal shunt valves. However, communicative suitability and speech intelligibility deteriorate by the SPVP for most patients. Tracheal phlegm clogging the SPVP is a hindrance for most patients. Conclusions. The SPVP raises vocal pitch. Female laryngectomees with an atonic or severely hypotonic pharyngoesophageal segment can benefit from a stronger voice with the SPVP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-412
Number of pages13
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


  • Alaryngeal speech
  • Artificial larynx
  • Laryngectomy
  • Voice
  • Voice prosthesis

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