The larynx is a body part that helps us talk. It is a part of the throat and holds the vocal cords. You might call this area your voice box. The larynx helps us breathe and use our voice. When we speak, air is pushed from the lungs. This air vibrates the vocal cords so we can make sound. Other parts of the vocal tract and our mouths shape this air into speech. Sometimes the larynx needs to be surgically removed. This surgery is called a laryngectomy. A person might have a laryngectomy because of damage or cancer. After this surgery, a person breathes through a hole in their neck. Without a larynx, a person can no longer use their voice. An artificial larynx can help someone without a larynx speak.
An artificial larynx is also called an electrolarynx. It is a small device that you press to your neck. It makes a sound. When you move your mouth while pressing this device to your neck, the sound will come across as speech. The electrolarynx sounds robotic, but it helps a person speak independently again. Many people learning how to use the electrolarynx get speech therapy to help.
What kinds of artificial larynxes are there?
Most artificial larynxes are held up to your neck by hand. Examples include:
Griffin Labs makes a holder accessory for their artificial larynxes. Other companies are designing new products to meet the need for hands-free use. One of these companies is Syrinx.