Comparison of speech parameters and olfaction using different tracheotomy speaking valves

Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2012 Jul-Aug;2(4):348-53. doi: 10.1002/alr.21018. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Background: The objective of this work was to obtain a controlled subjective and objective in vivo clinical comparison of the Passy-Muir, Shiley, and Ball speaking valves.

Methods: Ten patients free of laryngeal pathology but dependent on tracheotomy for respiration were tested with each of the speaking valves. Olfaction was assessed for each patient using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT). Acoustic and perceptual analyses included subjective assessments, noninstrumental objective assessments (including maximum phonation time, and S:Z ratio), and instrumental objective assessments (including fundamental frequency:maximum phonation range, vocal intensity, perturbation, naturalness, and turbulence). Oxygen saturation was assessed by pulse oximetry.

Results: There was a highly significant statistical difference in olfaction and speech naturalness, in favor of the Ball valve (The Airway Company, Forest Hill, MD). The Ball valve's speech parameters were generally better than with the Passy-Muir and Shiley valves, including maximum phonation, S:Z ratio, jitter, noise, and turbulence, although the differences were not statistically significant. There were no differences among the valves in oxygen saturation levels.

Conclusion: This study illustrates that olfaction and certain speech parameters, most noticeably speech naturalness, are significantly improved with the Ball valve as compared to the Passy-Muir and Shiley valves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Larynx, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Oximetry
  • Patient Preference
  • Phonation
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Smell
  • Speech Production Measurement / instrumentation*
  • Speech Production Measurement / methods
  • Speech, Alaryngeal / instrumentation*
  • Speech, Alaryngeal / methods
  • Tracheotomy*