In vitro evaluation of a double-membrane-based voice-producing element for laryngectomized patients

Johannes W. Tack, Gerhard Rakhorst, Eduard B. van der Houwen, Hans F. Mahieu, Gijsbertus J. Verkerke*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)


    Background. A sound generator based on a double-membrane design that fits into a regular tracheoesophageal shunt valve may improve voice quality after total laryngectomy in patients rehabilitated with surgical voice prostheses. Methods. Voice-producing element (VPE) prototypes were manufactured using medical grade biocompatible materials and tested in vitro under physiological conditions. Results. Basic sound, containing multiple harmonics, was successfully produced under physiologic air pressure and airflow conditions. The fundamental frequency and sound pressure level (SPL) is controlled by changing the driving pressure, thus enabling sufficient intonation for day-to-day speech. The obtained frequency range (190-350 Hz) is appropriate for producing a female voice. The low noise-to-harmonics ratio (mean 0.15) and also the efficiency of sound production (5.5 × 10-5 at 80 dB(A) and 0.15 m microphone distance) is comparable to that of normal vocal folds. Conclusions. Functional restoration of the voice after laryngectomy with a double-membrane VPE appears to be a feasible concept for female laryngectomized patients with a hypotonic, or atonic pharyngoesophageal segment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-674
    Number of pages10
    JournalHead & neck
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


    • Aero-acoustics
    • Total laryngectomy
    • Voice prosthesis
    • Voice rehabilitation
    • Voice sound


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