Using an Artificial Larynx – Advice Sheet

  • Reference Number: HEY-764/2016
  • Departments: ENT, Speech and Language

This advice sheet has been produced to provide you with information about how to correctly use you artificial larynx.  It is not meant to replace discussion between you and your doctor.  If, after reading it, you require further explanation please discuss this with the relevant person who has been caring for you.

There are two types of artificial larynx (electrolarynx) available:

  • Intra-oral: Has a tube attachment that is placed in the mouth
  • Neck: Placed on the neck or cheek

It is important to consider the following points when using these aids:

Placement: Correct placement of the aid in the mouth or on the neck/cheek is essential for success. When using an intra-oral aid, the tube should be inserted about 1-2 inches inside the mouth, ensuring minimal obstruction to the tongue and teeth. When using on the neck or cheek, a soft, pliable area of skin is required, large enough to place the head of the aid comfortably. Do not use on a spot that triggers coughing or discomfort.

On/Off timing: This is essential in order to avoid unnecessary or obtrusive noise. Switch on only as speech movements are initiated and switch off as soon as your message is complete. It may help to slow down your speech rate slightly.

Phrasing: Try to use a natural speaking rhythm with pauses, as in normal conversation.

Loudness: You will need to adjust the volume for quiet and noisy situations. Reduce the volume when on the telephone.

Articulation: You may need to emphasize speech sounds to improve clarity. Please refer to the practice items.

Intonation: Try to introduce variations and interest into speech. It may help to practise telling a joke, where changes in tone are required.

Exercises to aid clearer speech when using an artificial larynx:

  • Open your mouth as if saying “ah”
  • Repeat “mah”, “mah”
  • Count 1-10
  • Recite the days of the week
  • Recite the months of the year
  • Practise the lists of similar sounding words
  • Practise short social phrases eg:
  • Hello, how are you?
  • Fine thanks
  • That’s nice
  • See you soon

Practise this list of similar sounding words, emphasizing the difference between them:

am/an                        all/ or                    on  /ale                     aim /aid

eye /isle                     owe /ore                we /wear                 wore / why

low / lay                     law /lee                 lame / lane             lone / load

me /may                    more / my            knee / know            nor / name

pie/buy                      too/do                   tuck/duck                cut/gut

fan/van                      fine/vine               file/vile                    few/view

see/she                       sip/ship                sock/shock              Sue/shoe

chill/Jill                     chess/Jess            chain/Jane              chin/gin

lie/rye                         late/rate                lack/rack                 lamp/ramp

pay/play                     bite/bright            tick/trick                 core/claw

gate/grate                  four/floor              sell/spell                  sick/stick

sip/skip

Please return the aid if it develops any faults. Please do not attempt any home repairs, as this may invalidate the warranty. Avoid over-tightening the top or base as this will lead to cracking. To prevent the unit hitting a hard surface, please use the neck cord or carry case.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this sheet, please do not hesitate to contact the Speech and Language Therapy Department on: (01482) 604331

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and well-being and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

This leaflet was produced by the Speech and Language Therapy Department, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.