Speech restoration for post-laryngectomy patients

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BANGKOK, 9 October 2013 – A speech restoration program for post-laryngectomy patients has been organized in Phitsanulok.

Thai Public Health Promotion and the Thai association for post-laryngectomy patients as well as the society for laryngectomy patients in Phitsanulok province have joined hands organizing a speech and voice restoration program for individuals that have undergone a total removal of the larynx (laryngectomy).

The number of cases of head and neck cancer increases every year, particularly laryngeal cancer. After a total removal of the larynx, patients are unable to force air from the lungs to the mouth, therefore unable to speak. As a consequence, they are unable to communicate and interact with family members and the community the way they did before.

In 2005, the division of otolaryngologists – head and neck – surgeons of Thailand, in collaboration with the society for post-laryngectomy patients, set up a voice rehabilitation program to train people with speech loss. The program, which took place at Buddhachinaraj Phitsanulok Hospital, has since trained patients to use the esophagus to create sound. Although provided with a network of support, people have to assist one another in the recovery process. The managing director of the hospital leads the program and continues to host a session once every month, including the new, intense short-term program that took place just this week.

Experts from Thailand’s society for laryngectomy patients, have helped train members of the society, their relatives, and various health teams from the provinces of Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Ratchaburi, Chonburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Phitsanulok. The event has given hope for recovery to patients experiencing voice loss to develop their abilities to communicate and interact in their communities again.