Lurie Children's has speech-language pathologists on staff who specialize in working with patients who have a tracheostomy tube. Along with staff members in pulmonology, otolaryngology (ENT) and respiratory therapy, they determine whether a speaking valve may be appropriate for your child.
A tracheostomy tube is a medically necessary intervention that can impact a child’s ability to speak or swallow. The use of a speaking valve can assist with the restoration of the flow of air through the vocal cords and upper airway. The benefits of a speaking valve include, but are not limited to, improved voicing, improved taste/smell, improved swallowing and improved secretion management.
A speaking valve may not be appropriate for every child with a tracheostomy tube. Children may not do well with a speaking valve if, for example, they have bilateral vocal cord paralysis in the adducted position, if they are unable to tolerate cuff deflation or if they have complete upper airway obstruction.