Speech Amplifiers and Artifical Larynxs

Some people are able to speak, but cannot project enough volume. This article talks about 2 types of speech hardware: how they work and what models are currently available.

There are primarily two types of devices. The first simply provide amplification; the individual speaks into a microphone attached to a headset, lapel, etc., and an amplifier and speaker project his/her voice. The second type, commonly known as "artificial larynxes," is used by people who can "mouth" their words, but cannot produce the vibrations that power speech.  Users hold the device close to their throat; these devices produce a tone that mimic the function of an intact larynx.

Amplifiers

BoomVox (Griffin Laboratories)--The BoomVox Wireless Amplifier consists of a small 15-watt amplifier that can be worn on a belt, plus four microphone options, all of which are included: a wireless headset microphone, a lapel microphone, a handheld microphone or a high-gain heavy-duty microphone. The volume on the amplifier is adjustable. The BoomVox uses a built-in, rechargeable battery with charger, but can also run off an AC power cord or 12-volt car adaptor (included).

Chattervox (Asyst Communications)--The Chattervox provides 15 decibels of amplification and has a single on/off/volume control. A headset microphone is included; other microphones are also available. The system uses a 9-volt nickel metal-hydride battery for 14 hours of continuous talking; a charger is included. Six double-A batteries can be substituted.

SoniVox (Griffin Laboratories)--The SoniVox Waistband Amplifier can be worn around the waist on a belt. It can be used with a wireless high-gain headset microphone or a lapel microphone, both of which are included with the unit. The voice is projected from the 15-watt amplifier. The volume on the amplifier is adjustable.

Artificial Larynxes

Cooper-Rand (Luminaud)--The Cooper-Rand consists of a portable pulse generator and a small hand held tone generator. The user inserts a tube projecting from the tone generator into his mouth. A tone emanating from this tube supplies the individual's missing or insufficient vocal tone. The tone can be turned on and off by a switch on the tone generator, and has adjustable volume and pitch.

Solatone (Griffin Laboratories)--The SolaTone is held in contact with the throat and activated by pressure on a button on the artificial larynx. The SolaTone also enables the user to vary the volume of his/her voice to levels appropriate to the size of the group to which he/she is speaking; however, it only "speaks" in monotone. An adjustment screwdriver, oral straws and oral adaptor are included. It uses one 9-volt battery; a disposable battery is included. Rechargeable 9-volt batteries and a 9-volt battery charger are available.

Tokyo Artificial Larynx (Limco Solutions)--The Tokyo Speech Aid is a breath-powered artificial larynx.. A cup about the size of a quarter fits over the stoma and conducts the lung wind to a unit containing a rubber diaphragm. This diaphragm vibrates, generating a tone which is then conducted through a tube into the user's mouth. The user articulates this tone into speech with the normal movements of the mouth and tongue. The tone can be pitched upwards into a ladies voice and down to a deep bass voice. The package includes a video which shows how to use the aid and how to change the rubber diaphragm, an extra O ring, an extra mouthpiece, an extra air tube, and a package of rubber diaphragms.

Trutone Electrolarynx Kit (Griffin Laboratories)--The TruTone Electrolarynx Kit is held in contact with the throat, and the intonation and pitch of the voice is controlled by varying pressure on a button on the artificial larynx. The user may vary the volume of his/her voice to levels appropriate to the size of the group to which the user is speaking. An adjustment screwdriver, oral straws and oral adaptor are included. It uses a 9-volt battery; a disposable battery and two rechargeable batteries are included. Additional batteries and a 9-volt battery charger are available.

This product information is modified from information provided by AbleData, an assistive technology information service provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Neither the Department nor ICF Macro, which operates AbleData, has examined, reviewed, or tested any product, device, or resource contained in AbleData or referred to in this Fact Sheet. The Department and ICF Macro make no endorsement, representation, or warranty express or implied as to any product, device, or other information set forth in AbleData. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Department, NIDRR, or ICF Macro.

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