Authors: Lorenz KJ, Groll K, Ackerstaff AH, Hilgers FJM, Maier H
Title: Hands-free speech after surgical voice rehabilitation with a Provox voice prosthesis: Experience with the Provox FreeHands HME tracheostoma valve system
Source: European Archives of Oto Rhino Laryngology 2007 264(2): 151-157
Year: 2007
Research Design: Case Series

Excellent results have been reported with the use of voice prostheses for the rehabilitation of laryngectomees. Patients, however, consider it a disadvantage that the tracheostoma must be closed manually for speech production. This limits their ability to simultaneously communicate by gesture or to work with both hands. An automatic tracheostoma valve helps patients overcome this problem. We describe a prospective clinical trial evaluating our experience with the Provox FreeHands HME Automatic Tracheostoma Valve system. Twenty-four laryngectomees were randomly selected from the patients who had undergone laryngectomy at the ENT Department. Immediately, after 4 weeks and 6 months later having been fitted with a Provox FreeHands HME, the patients were asked to complete a questionnaire in order to assess their satisfaction, voice quality, wearing comfort, fixation, potential problems, and the effectiveness of the HME cassette. In addition, we investigated relevant voice quality parameters including dynamics range, frequency range of the speaking voice, and maximum phonation time. Seven patients discontinued the study due to problems of securing the valve to the skin (four patients) or recurrent cancer (three patients). Ten of the remaining 17 patients wore the valve daily for an average of 8.4 h. A total of 88% of the patients considered it a great advantage to be able to speak without having to use their hands. With the Provox FreeHands HME, maximum phonation time was 8.7 (+/-6.2) s and the dynamic range was 21.9 (+/-5.8) decibels. The results show that the Provox FreeHands HME Automatic Tracheostoma Valve system not only allows hands-free speech but is also associated with excellent compliance and good voice rehabilitation. ©Springer

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