A one-way valve which can be used with an individual who is spontaneously breathing, or applied in-line with an individual who requires ventilator support, is another option to enhance communication with caregivers and family. These valves are colloquially known as ‘speaking valves’ since they redirect airflow during exhalation through the upper airway past the vocal cords, allowing subglottal air pressure to build, and therefore, opening and closing the vocal cords in a more normal pattern, providing voicing. The valve is beneficial to the individual’s quality of life and independence by improving communication with caregivers allowing expression of wants and needs, and increasing the individual’s interaction, socialization and engagement.
Neil Frederick MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, South Australia
Published: July 6, 2022