Accepting a New Voice: Importance of Support Groups People who undergo a total laryngectomy must use some form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) post-surgery. Potential AAC options range from prosthetic devices used with a tracheo-esophageal puncture (TEP) to the electrolarynx, computerbased speech generating systems, and voice amplifiers. Some individuals may have experience with only one method ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2004
Accepting a New Voice: Importance of Support Groups
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • M. A. Toner
    Communication Disorders, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2004
Accepting a New Voice: Importance of Support Groups
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, December 2004, Vol. 9, 21-24. doi:10.1044/gero9.2.21
SIG 15 Perspectives on Gerontology, December 2004, Vol. 9, 21-24. doi:10.1044/gero9.2.21
People who undergo a total laryngectomy must use some form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) post-surgery. Potential AAC options range from prosthetic devices used with a tracheo-esophageal puncture (TEP) to the electrolarynx, computerbased speech generating systems, and voice amplifiers. Some individuals may have experience with only one method or device, others try several before finding a successful communication method, and still others use more than one method on a daily basis.
A total laryngectomy may be necessary at any age, but it is most common in people in their sixth or seventh decade of life (The National Cancer Institute, 2004). Many of these individuals have little or no experience with recent technological advances of any type; even fewer are familiar with AAC technology. They are often introduced to alaryngeal communication options shortly before or after surgery. Not surprisingly, the presur-gical information frequently goes unheard, or at least not comprehended, in the emotion of the upcoming surgery. Presurgical counseling helps patients know what to expect following surgery, but no one can truly be prepared for the sudden changes he or she will experience. At best, preparations are made to provide a means of functional communication immediately following surgery, such as communication cards, simple speech devices, or even writing supplies. Too often, however, patients wake up from surgery with no means of communication or are unable to use effectively the method provided.
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