What is a speech amplifier

List of GKV aids

Speech aids are used by people with voice and language disorders to compensate for missing or impaired functions. They enable those affected to communicate linguistically with their fellow human beings.

Speech aids in the sense of this product group include speech amplifiers, sound generators (electronic speech aids) for larynx and voice replacement aids.

After diseases of the larynx, especially the vocal cords, after thyroid and larynx operations including laryngectomy (removal of the larynx) as well as neurological diseases, there is often voice weakness (phonastenia) or voicelessness.

In the case of unfavorable anatomical conditions or in the case of unsuccessful speech therapy treatment, speaking aids can be used in addition.


Voice amplifier:

Laryngectomized patients whose esophageal voice is too low and insured persons with a weak voice can use a voice amplifier to be able to speak clearly again. This involves speaking into a microphone, amplifying the language and outputting it through a loudspeaker. The sensitivity of the device is adapted to the speech volume of the user.


Sound generator (electronic speaking aids):

After the surgical removal of the larynx, the "tone generator" for the formation of the voice and thus for the formation of tonal language is missing. In such cases, the aim is usually that the laryngectomized patient learns, under speech therapy instruction, how to use the esophagus to produce sounds. Laryngectomized patients who cannot learn this esophageal voice, who have not yet learned it or who cannot speak well enough, have to resort to technical aids.

Electronic speaking aids in particular have established themselves here. Vibration transmitters have become common today, with which mechanical vibrations are generated, which are then passed on to the oropharynx via a vibration head from the outside of the neck or the floor of the mouth. When the laryngectomized person articulates during these vibrations, they produce audible speech.

For laryngectomized patients who are not able to learn the esophageal voice despite adequate speech therapy training or if shunt valves are not an option, as well as for the first time after the larynx operation, a sound generator is the most important aid for regaining linguistic communication skills.


Voice replacement aids:

Shunt valves (so-called voice prostheses) are one-way flap valves which are inserted into a shunt (puncture) between the windpipe (trachea) and the esophagus (esophagus) in order to restore the voice after a total laryngectomy. The one-way valve protects the airways from aspiration during swallowing and it opens under positive pressure from the trachea so that air can pass into the esophagus to produce vocal sounds.

There are a number of different shunt valves. The functional principle is the same for all of these valves. They differ in shape, size and material properties. Some valves can be changed by the patient, others can only be changed by the doctor. Only the valves that can be exchanged by the patient are to be regarded as aids in the sense of this product group.

A so-called tracheostoma valve is often prescribed in addition to shunt valves. This is inserted into the tracheostoma like a cannula and functions like a valve. During normal inhalation and exhalation, the tracheostoma valve is open; when speaking with a higher exhalation pressure, it closes so that the air is diverted through the shunt valve.


Cross references:

Speaking valves and speaking cannulas: see PG 12 "Aids for tracheostomy"

Communication aids: see PG 16 "Communication aids"