Lost larynx to cancer, now use electronic voice, battery powered. Feel it could be improved - refine electronics? Answered
After losing my larynx to cancer last year, i now use an "electro larynx" (http://www.griffinlab.com/Products/TruTone-Electrolarynx.html) a great device which translates the vibrations my mouth makes when i "speak" with a rubber tube (the exact same as the one my dentist uses to extract excess saliva) in my mouth. The vibrations are transmitted somehow to a vibrating rubber disc inside a handheld device. There are a few other bits too technical for me to understand and describe, but the end result is an electrical voice a bit like Stephen Hawking's.
The machine has a plastic disc built into the lid, held in place by a rubber gasket round the edge, which is made to be pressed against the underneath of the chin or the upper neck. When the laryngectomee speaks, the vibrations of the throat cause the disc to vibrate, which in turn oscillates a small plastic rod underneath the centre of the disc. This rod runs through the centre of a rubber disc, which is vibrating at high speed because the laryngectomee also presses a button when (s)he speaks, causing it to do so. The vibrations somehow pick up the voice vibrations and turn it into electronic speech. Underneath the rubber disc is a some sort of coil of copper wire almost the full diameter of the machine, and there are 2 pieces of wire soldered into place , too. I don't have a clue about electronics or really anything, so i'm hoping someone out there can make sense of this mumbo jumbo. I'm sure that having a look at the website will help. As I said, normally the device is pressed under the chin, but my neck and chin are rock hard from having loads of surgery, so they don't vibrate - the clever people came up with the solution for people like me: a thick rubber cap fits over the top of the device with a hole through the middle, 5mm maybe. into that is inserted the piece of dentist tube i mentioned earlier. this somehow does the trick, and once more i have the miracle of speech!
Now, as I said, this machine is amazing, and certainly beats having to write everything down. trouble is, it has a volume control wheel which is so difficult to get into the right spot, it goes from way too loud to almost inaudible. Now, having seen some of the stuff you guys come up with on here, and the apparently relative simplicity of the machine, i was wondering if anyone could come up with a solution to my quandry....Yours, speechless, Dave.