Currently, voice rehabilitation of larynx cancer patients is performed by inserting a one-way shunt valve between trachea and oesophagus that prevents food and liquid from entering the trachea. Pressing the tracheal opening with a finger forces exhaled air through the shunt valve to the oesophagus, where soft tissue structures serve as a substitute voice. However, the voice is in many cases of poor quality and the process creates a mental barrier during speaking, as patients have to literally point at their handicap.
The NEWVOICE project aims to improve the quality of life for laryngectomees by developing a new voice-producing shunt prosthesis that is able to produce a voice with sufficient loudness, adjustable fundamental frequency and natural intonation.
Dr. Bart Verkerke, Project Manager of the Department of BioMedical Engineering at the main partner, the University of Groningen, describes how the partners initiated this work in a previous EUREKA project. “Most of the NEWVOICE participants were involved in project E! 723 ARTIFICIAL LARYNX, during which we gained a lot of the expertise in medical devices to improve the rehabilitation process that will be used in this project.”
Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
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