Faculty Publications

Speech Breathing In Speakers Who Use An Electrolarynx

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Journal of Communication Disorders





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Speakers who use an electrolarynx following a total laryngectomy no longer require pulmonary support for speech. Subsequently, chest wall movements may be affected; however, chest wall movements in these speakers are not well defined. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate speech breathing in speakers who use an electrolarynx during speech and reading tasks. Six speakers who use an electrolarynx underwent an evaluation of chest wall kinematics (e.g., chest wall movements, temporal characteristics of chest wall movement), lung volumes, temporal measures of speech, and the interaction of linguistic influences on ventilation. Results of the present study were compared to previous reports in speakers who use an electrolarynx, as well as to previous reports in typical speakers. There were no significant differences in lung volumes used and the general movement of the chest wall by task; however, there were differences of note in the temporal aspects of chest wall configuration when compared to previous reports in both typical speakers and speakers who use an electrolarynx. These differences were related to timing and posturing of the chest wall. The lack of differences in lung volumes and chest wall movements by task indicates that neither reading nor spontaneous speech exerts a greater influence on speech breathing; however, the temporal and posturing results suggest the possibility of a decoupling of the respiratory system from speech following a total laryngectomy and subsequent alaryngeal speech rehabilitation. Learning outcomes: The reader will be able to understand and describe: (1) The primary differences in speech breathing across alaryngeal speech options; (2) how speech breathing specifically differs (i.e., lung volumes and chest wall movements) in speakers who use an electrolarynx; (3) How the coupling of speech and respiration is altered when pulmonary air is no longer used for speech. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

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