A multi-institutional, prospective clinical study was undertaken to investigate whether the use of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) in the period following total laryngectomy could prevent the development or reduce the severity of respiratory symptoms. Fifty-nine patients from three hospitals were provided with HMEs, either immediately post-surgery or, in the case of post-surgical radiotherapy, upon completion of the radiotherapy. For the total sample (n = 59) statistically significant improvements over time (between 3 and 6 months) could be found in forced expectoration (P < 0.05), in the perceived voice quality (P < 0.001), social anxiety (P < 0.001), social interactions (P < 0.001) and in feelings of anxiety and depression (P < 0.05). Repeated measures analysis of variance indicated statistically significant group differences over time in forced expectoration and stoma cleaning (P < 0.05). No statistically significant differences over time were noted between the regular and non(regular) HME user groups in voice quality or in various aspects of daily living.