Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improved Speech Without Vocal Cords

Date:
December 30, 2005
Source:
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Summary:
Dutch otolaryngologist Marein van der Torn hoped to develop a prosthesis that would improve the voice of people who had lost their vocal cords. He investigated the possibilities of a new type of voice prosthesis that produces vocal sound. The concept could be useful for female patients with a very weak voice: it would strengthen their voice and enable it to achieve a female pitch again. However, various practical problems need to be solved before the voice prosthesis can be used.

Dutch otolaryngologist Marein van der Torn hoped to develop a prosthesis that would improve the voice of people who had lost their vocal cords. He investigated the possibilities of a new type of voice prosthesis that produces vocal sound. The concept could be useful for female patients with a very weak voice: it would strengthen their voice and enable it to achieve a female pitch again. However, various practical problems need to be solved before the voice prosthesis can be used.

Sometimes the larynx, containing the vocal cords, needs to be surgically removed in throat cancer patients. Since the 1980s most of these patients have learnt to speak again with the help of a small silicone rubber valve placed between their windpipe and oesophagus.

This valve enables them to use the uppermost sphincter of their oesophagus as a sort of vocal chord. However, this alternative voice sounds often gruff and is lower than the natural voice. Female patients in particular find the low pitch troublesome. Moreover, if the uppermost sphincter of the oesophagus is too weak, the voice is not strong enough to be understood clearly.

Together with the University of Groningen, Van der Torn and his colleagues at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam developed a new type of valve that produces its own vocal sound. That sound is produced by a small silicone rubber flap in the valve, which acts as an artificial vocal chord.

A different flap was developed for male voices than for female voices. The vibrational behaviour of these flaps, the air resistance and the sound produced were extensively investigated in vitro. These new voice prostheses were also trialled in a group of patients at the VU University Medical Center and compared against the voices of these patients without the silicone rubber flap.

From these trials it emerged that for the time being only female patients with a very weak voice would benefit from the new voice prosthesis: their voice becomes more powerful and once again achieves a female pitch. The new voice prosthesis cannot be used yet because the silicone rubber flap is easily impaired by tough mucus coughed up by the majority of patients.

Marein van der Torn's research was funded by Technology Foundation STW.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. "Improved Speech Without Vocal Cords." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051230090804.htm>.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. (2005, December 30). Improved Speech Without Vocal Cords. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051230090804.htm
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. "Improved Speech Without Vocal Cords." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051230090804.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2014) A sharp rise in revenue for commercial jets offset a decline in Boeing's defense business. And a big increase in deliveries lifted profitability. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins