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Tips for voice prosthesis users during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • If you are occluding your stoma with your finger, use an HME with a lid if you can.

 

  • Even though the HME reduces direct contact between your finger and your stoma, remember it is still important to avoid touching the HME with dirty fingers.

 

  • Handsfree speech is another way to limit direct contact with your stoma. If you are not currently using a handsfree speaking valve, or if you need help using one you already have, contact your clinician to discuss your options.

 

  • Consider contacting your clinician to ensure you are up to date with any changes to hospital recommendations for voice prosthesis changes.

 

  • Know the type and size of your voice prosthesis and keep this information at hand.

 

  • Make sure you have a voice prosthesis plug for your voice prosthesis that fits the type and size of voice prosthesis, in case it starts to leak.
  • Practice using the plug so that you become comfortable using it when you need it. If you find it difficult, teach someone else to do it for you and make sure they wear protective equipment such as a face mask and gloves when they do so.

 

  • Have liquid thickeners at hand in case your voice prosthesis starts to leak and you are having trouble with the plug. Ask your clinician about the best options for you.

 

  • Consider talking to your clinician about a backup solution for speaking in case you need to start using a plug. An electrolarynx device can be a good solution to still be able to speak if you can’t use your voice prosthesis.

 

  • Clean your voice prosthesis regularly with a brush, at least twice a day (in the morning and evening) and after each meal.

 

  • Consider using a flush as a part of your cleaning routine. Make it a routine to brush first and then flush with warm water. If you are using the flush for the first time, you can try flushing with air first, until you feel comfortable.

 

  • Make sure the voice prosthesis brush and flush are always clean. Clean and rinse before and after each use.

 

  • Speak with your clinician about having a spare voice prosthesis at hand, especially if you are using a non-indwelling voice prosthesis.

Sources: 

Hennessy M, Bann D, Patel V, Saadi R, Krempl G, Deschler D, et al. A Commentary on the Management of Total Laryngectomy Patients. Special Collection: COVID-19 Preprints: Authorea; 2020.  

Coronavirus outbreak and how laryngectomee and neck breathers can prevent getting the infection. Posted by Itzhak Brook MD, 25th January 2020 on www.dribrook.blogspot.com

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