PHONETOVOX: A Novel Prototype Device for Alaryngeal Speech
Objective: To describe a prototype improvised hand held device for alaryngeal speech.
Design: Instrument Innovation
Setting: Tertiary Private Hospital
Participants: Four listeners with normal hearing, were native Tagalog-speakers and had no previous experience with alaryngeal speech types participated in initial trials.
Results: The prototype PHONETOVOX was fabricated using a soundproofed cellphone casing with an intra-oral sound port attachment and a cellphone was loaded with Pocket Talkbox v. 1.4.0 software. The device was tested for its ability to produce intelligible speech by using the cellphone as a substitute for the larynx using oral cavity resonators and articulators, producing a synthesized sound mimicking the human voice. The PHONETOVOX produced intelligible words. Initial testing using a C-V-C Tagalog Word List had 4 listeners identify 34, 35, 47, and 54 out of 93 words (37 to 58%), with an overall average intelligibility of 46%.
Conclusion: Despite its restrictions in articulation and the wide range of results from the four listeners, our initial results may suggest the potential of PHONETOVOX as another modality for alaryngeal speech comparable to the 36 – 38 % intelligibility of commercially-available devices. Further trials with actual laryngectomees are needed to further establish intelligibility and acceptability.
Keywords: Laryngectomy, Alaryngeal speech, Laryngeal Cancer
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