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This study is directed at the following questions: How many laryngectomees are using which adaptive devices how often? Which devices are they lacking? Which alaryngeal voice has the best results in terms of intelligibility?
218 patients operated on in six ENT-clinics in Eastern Germany over the last 25 years were interviewed in person. Items from a German questionnaire for psychosocial adjustment after laryngectomy (FPAL) and from the quality of life questionnaire EORTC QLQ-H&N35 were used. Voice intelligibility was measured by an objective test, the Postlaryngectomy-Telephone-Intelligibility-Test (PLTT).
The most common communication method in this group is the esophageal voice, only 20 percent use voice protheses regularly, and 15 percent of the patients use electronic devices. 87 percent of the laryngectomees wear scarves to protect their stoma, and 82 percent use inhalers. Several patients lack tools for communication, some for protection of the tracheostoma and others devices for showering and swimming. The best speech results are gained with voice protheses. Health related Quality of Life shows only poor correlation with the use of adaptive devices.
In general the health care for laryngectomees in terms of device use can be seen as relatively good but not as optimal. Problematic is the fact that 15.5 percent of the patients could not acquire an adequate voice, that some devices are missed by patients despite the fact that they are available for purchase, and that some patients do not care for their tracheostoma. It could be useful to consider these findings within medical consultations.