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esophageal speech

mechanical or esophageal speech that is taught by therapists to persons who have had the larynx, or voice box, surgically removed (laryngectomy). The operation is necessary when cancer (neoplasm) tumours are present on or near the larynx. After surgery, patients learn to swallow air into the esophagus and belch it out in a controlled manner. The tissues of the gullet act on the ejected air resulting in sound that is altered by oral-nasal structures to produce recognizable speech sounds. Former laryngectomy patients often work with newly diagnosed laryngeal cancer patients before and after surgery to demonstrate that it is possible to learn how to speak again. As a result of this technique, many former laryngeal cancer patients have been able to return to their former occupations and professions.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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