My name is John and I was 36 years old when I was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1995. I had a total laryngectomy operation, which is the removal of the voice box. After this operation, the Speech Pathologist provided me with a lot of training using the Servox device (an electronic artificial larynx) to talk.
I used this device for 5 years and then had an operation to have a voice prosthesis (silicone valve) inserted.
The Speech Pathologist provided training in how to speak with the voice prosthesis and I found it easier to talk as the months went by.
The voice prosthesis is fantastic to speak with and I now only need to visit my Speech Pathologist twice a year, to have my voice prosthesis changed.
Speech Pathology are there for my emergency management – like when things go wrong with my voice prosthesis which stops me from being able to talk, eat and drink.
They are a bit like the RACV service for me.
This week is Speech Pathology Week. Approximately 5% of the population (1.1 million Australians), have a communication disorder.
Speech Pathologists play an important role in supporting people with communication difficulties to communicate in different ways and to participate more fully in life.