Sep 05, 2012 - 12:53 pm
Visited my voice therapist yesterday, and she got my voice prosthesis working again. For those that do not know: I've had my voice box removed and had a tracheal-esophogeal puncture (TEP) at the time. A one-way valve is fitted so when I cover my stoma (hole in the neck) air is forced into the esophagus, which vibrates to give me a voice.
Well the prosthesis got plugged with mucus in February. I didn't want to have it fusses with, because I was in radiation therapy and just didn't want anyone poking around in my sore neck. So I started to learn esophageal speech. This is where I swallow air and then the esophagus vibrates as I force/let the air escape. Like a burp.
I've lived so long without a voice prosthesis, that I will continue to avoid using it as much as I can. Esophageal speech is definitely the way to go if I can master it. But the voice prosthesis is a good fall-back when I need to get something across verbally.
The voice prosthesis is (relatively) easy to use; esophageal speech is (almost) impossible. Only about 1% of laryngectomees use esophageal speech. The prosthesis has real seductive powers, why struggle when there is an easy way. Well, this all tells you about my personality. If I were not traveling the hard road, where would I be? However, now I have to use little brushes (inside my neck) to clean the thing. Rick.