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Ventilator-Assisted Speech Production

Mechanical ventilation is used to aid respiration or to prevent respiratory failure caused by pulmonary insufficiency, airway collapse, or poor ventilation. Assisted ventilation is typically administered with a face mask, nasal cannula (i.e., tube), or endotracheal tube in the mouth. It can also be administered anteriorly through the neck, using a tracheostomy tube. Patients on mechanical ventilation face numerous communication challenges related to speech and voice. Insufficient respiratory drive (i.e., subglottal pressure) may reduce or eliminate an individual’s ability to phonate (i.e., produce voice). Ventilator hardware such as endotracheal tubes, which pass through the nose or mouth and into the larynx, prevents phonation and interferes with speech. Ventilated patients may have to rely on nonvocal modes of communication such as writing, gesturing, or silent mouthing ...

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