The purpose of this study was to examine quality of life in laryngectomees using different methods of communication. A survey was mailed to all the living laryngectomees in Nova Scotia. Patients were asked to rate their ability to communicate in a number of common situations, to rate their difficulty with several communication problems, and to complete the EORTC QLQ-C30 quality-of-life assessment tool. Sixty-two patients responded (return rate of 84%); 57% were using electrolaryngeal speech, 19% esophageal speech, and 8.5% tracheoesophageal speech. These groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, first language, education level, and years since laryngectomy. There were very few differences between these groups in ability to communicate in social situations and no difference in overall quality of life as measured by these scales. The most commonly cited problem was difficulty being heard in a noisy environment. Despite the fact that tracheoesophageal speech is objectively most intelligible, there does not seem to be a measurable improvement in quality of life or ability to communicate in everyday situations over electrolaryngeal or esophageal speakers.
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