Talking Again



Recommended Reading From our members



All VoicePoints articles are authored by professionals and found in our monthly newsletter, Whispers on the Web  

Many of these articles are aimed toward Talking Again.



This decision must be a joint decision - between you, your doctor and your speech therapist/pathologist. In the event of a total laryngectomy, you will likely have three main options - pure esophageal speech, an electrolarynx device, or a tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) followed by the installation of a voice prosthesis. Perhaps the following summary will help explain the differences.  Follow through with reading the sections and articles mentioned above.

1. Esophageal Speech - probably the most difficult to master. You will need a speech therapist to help you learn how to force air into to the top of your esophagus and expel it through your mouth. There are advantages to this method of speech. It is no cost to maintain. You are not battery-dependent and both of your hands are free for other things. Disadvantages are difficulty in smoothness of speech, volume, and you must stay in practice to speak well.

2. ElectroLarynx - There are quite a few devices on the market - of basically two types. They are all battery powered, but with one type of unit, you place it against your throat, push a button, and the machine transmits a vibration noise to your throat which you then form into words and sounds with your lips, teeth, and tongue. With the second type, the vibration sound is transmitted directly into your mouth via a small tube - words and sounds are made in a similar manner. There are samples of the electrolarynx sound in the Electrolarynx section.

3. Tracheoesophageal Puncture and Prosthesis: In this case, a doctor makes a small opening from the trachea to to the esophagus. Once this puncture heals, a prosthesis is fitted and inserted into the opening. To speak, you occlude (cover to seal) the stoma with your thumb or finger and simply the exhaled air to go through the prosthesis into the esophagus. This air movement vibrates the walls of the throat and you can create sounds and words normally with your lips, teeth, and tongue, etc. The prosthesis has a one-way valve in it to prevent swallowed food and liquids from entering your stoma.

Additionally, your stoma can be covered with a special valve that closes when you wish to speak, thus allowing air to go through the prosthesis. With this valve in place, you no longer need to occlude the stoma with your thumb/finger ... your hands are free.

Thus, a Hands-Free device.

4. Alternative Communications.  Please check here also since hardly anyone needs to go without speaking. There are computer programs, keyboards and reed devices.




(Sent to the WW List by Elzabeth Finchem)

Whether you are working with an electrolarynx, esophageal speech or with a tracheal-esophageal prosthesis, recording your voice is a good way to measure your progress. Consider your first attempt as a baseline to compare future recordings. When you follow up periodically reading the text below you will notice significant improvement in articulation, and a relaxed use of elongated vowels. All of which enhance intelligibility for easier communication 'face to face' and on the telephone .

Take a minute to read this passage before you read it aloud. It has been used by speech pathologists for decades to measure our progress in several ways . It's a good place to begin measuring where you are in your alaryngeal speech development.

The Rainbow Passage:

"When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Throughout the centuries men have explained the rainbow in various ways. Some have accepted it as a miracle without physical explanation. To the Hebrews it was a token that there would be no more universal floods. The Greeks used to imagine that it was a sign from the gods to foretell war or heavy rain."


WW members find a new way to communicate - writing



by Pat Wertz Sanders

"This isn't a book about a courageous fight against cancer or a triumphant tale of survival. Instead, it's a matter-of-fact glimpse at the world of a very specific cancer with the intention of educating patients, caregivers, family members, and even the medical community. It is packed with useful tips for those who are battling throat cancer and who need to understand what normal will look like for the rest of their lives."
Amazon has both Print and Kindle Version

Surviving Throat Cancer and Talking About It!



by Jack Henslee

Back in 1991-1992 I published a book on esophageal speech titled "Look Who's Talking." For a few years it was issued to incoming students at the IAL Voice Institute and enjoyed 2 printings over the years. However with the gaining popularity of TEP speech, interest sharply declined and the cost of publishing became prohibitive so it went out of print. Through the years I continued to get scattered requests for a copy which I filled with a very limited inventory I had left.

Inspired by Pat's great book I decided to do some minor updates and make it available online as a digital version which is now available on Amazon for the Kindle or other options with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers. If interested you can find a copy at
Amazon has both Print and Kindle Version



Self Help for the Laryngectomee (The Blue Book)

Written by Edmund Lauder, Edited by Jim Lauder

For many of us, this became our one and only reference book and was well read and thumbed through daily as we learned. This will help you really understand becoming and learning to live as a laryngectomee.

Contact Jim Lauder to get a copy at:


Branton K. Holmberg Books

A fellow Laryngectomy has found his voice again in writing. He started writing stories for his grand kids after losing his voice. His stories are adventure stories in the old west and in modern times. His latest book is his memoirs titled “Agony and Ecstasy of Finding My Voice”. It is a very inspirational book. His books are available on Amazon and other sites. He has a website:




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