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Voice rehabilitation

Similar to undergoing physiotherapy after a sport-related injury, you need to understand that your ability to speak has changed before and after a laryngectomy. This means there will be a transition period back to full health and vocal exercises will assist your recovery.

How “voice” is produced

Before a laryngectomy, your voice is produced by vocal cords located within the larynx. These vocal cords are the source of natural voice. During exhalation, the air passes the vocal cords, which produce sound through a rhythmic opening and closing.

Your voice is different after surgery

A laryngectomy means your larynx is removed – including your vocal cords. But there are several ways to regain your voice with the help of your speech and language pathologist.

The three most common voicing methods learned after surgery are: speech with a voice prosthesis (tracheoesophageal speech), electrolarynx  and esophageal speech.

Your voice will sound different than it did before, because it is no longer coming from your vocal cords. With esophageal and tracheoesophageal speech, your voice source will be located in your food pipe instead.

Speech therapists can help you to overcome this, by focusing on different ways to make your voice as clear and intelligible as possible.

Check out some of the exercises you can do to train your voice here.