Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improved speech without vocal cords

20.12.2005

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.

Marein van der Torn, MD | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_6JSHJS_Eng

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht First transcatheter implant for diastolic heart failure successful
16.11.2017 | The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

nachricht Theranostic nanoparticles for tracking and monitoring disease state
13.11.2017 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>