The electrolarynx: Voice restoration after total laryngectomy

Rachel Kaye, Christopher G. Tang, Catherine F. Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The ability to speak and communicate with one’s voice is a unique human characteristic and is fundamental to many activities of daily living, such as talking on the phone and speaking to loved ones. When the larynx is removed during a total laryngectomy (TL), loss of voice can lead to a devastating decrease in a patient’s quality of life, and precipitate significant frustration over their inability to communicate with others effectively. Over the past 50 years there have been many advances in techniques of voice restoration after TL. Currently, there are three main methods of voice restoration: the electrolarynx, esophageal speech, and tracheoesophageal speech through a tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) with voice prosthesis. Although TEP voice is the current gold standard for vocal rehabilitation, a significant minority of patients cannot use or obtain TEP speech for various reasons. As such, the electrolarynx is a viable and useful alternative for these patients. This article will focus on voice restoration using an electrolarynx with the following objectives: 1) To provide an understanding of the importance of voice restoration after total laryngectomy. 2) To discuss how the electrolarynx may be used to restore voice following total laryngectomy. 3) To outline some of the current electrolarynx devices available, including their mechanism of action and limitations. 4) To compare pros and cons of electrolaryngeal speech to TEP and esophageal speech.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Devices: Evidence and Research
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2017


  • Electrolarynx
  • Electrolarynx mechanics
  • Esophageal speech
  • Silent speech
  • Total laryngectomy
  • Tracheoesophageal puncture
  • Voice restoration


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