Speech Restoration | Action Medical Research | Children's Charity | Children's Charity

Speech restoration

This research was completed on 31 October 2004

Project LeaderMr S R Ell MD, FRCS(ORL-HNS) and Dr M J Fagan BSc, PhD, CEng, MBCS.
LocationDepartment of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Hull Royal Infirmary in conjunction with the Department of Engineering, University of Hull.
Grant awarded7 March 2002
Start date1 May 2002
End date31 October 2004
Grant amount£67,730.00
Grant codeAP0922

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Patients with throat cancer, whose voice box must be removed, inevitably lose the power of speech. Speech can be restored by using a small silicone valve that connects the wind pipe with the back of the throat. Air, powered by the lungs, is diverted into the throat and formed into speech, retaining the patient's dialect. The valves, however, only last about 3 months and need to be changed; a procedure which is uncomfortable and sometimes distressing. There are about 12,000 valve changes every year in the UK, at an estimated cost to the NHS of £8 million. A reduction in the frequency of valve changes would therefore be welcome to both patients and the health service. The aims of this project are firstly to understand the precise causes of valve failure and then to use the latest computer aided design techniques to develop a new valve design which can continue to operate for much longer. This research has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of thousands of patients.

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