Can You Talk with a Tracheostomy?

Speaking is usually feasible after a tracheostomy, however, it may be challenging. A speaking valve attachment is one tool that can be used in conjunction with speech and language therapy.

In the US, tracheostomies are performed on more than 100,000 patients annually. To insert a tube through the windpipe or trachea, a hole must be made in the neck during this process. This tube installation may be done permanently or temporarily.

It's common to be filled with questions and concerns about what life would be like after tracheostomy surgery if you or someone you love needs one. You can take solace in the fact that most people can swallow and speak again after some practice.

Apart from the details provided below, you can learn more about tracheostomy care here.

Can you talk or eat after a tracheostomy?

After a tracheostomy, eating and speaking might be challenging.

Swallowing can be difficult at first, even though most tracheostomy users can eat normally. It could be necessary for you to start with water, work your way up to soft foods, and then switch to a more conventional diet.

Air is often forced over the vocal cords at the back of the throat to speak. The majority of airflow with a tracheostomy, however, passes through the tube rather than across the vocal cords.

After a tracheostomy, not everyone can speak, and you can notice a change in the loudness, clarity, and intelligibility of your speech.

It might not even be possible to learn how to breathe normally for a few days after receiving a tracheostomy. After you become used to it, speech therapists could start with swallowing exercises to strengthen your muscles before advancing to activities that are more speech-focused.

Do you lose your voice after having a tracheostomy?

The larynx may suffer harm or impairment after a tracheostomy. One may become voiceless as a result of this.

Since learning to talk again following a tracheostomy can take some time, it's often difficult to determine when this has happened.

Why would you go from a ventilator to a tracheostomy? 

If you need breathing support for a long period or are being weaned off of support, your doctor might consider a tracheostomy rather than keeping you on a ventilator.

What can you not do with a tracheostomy?

It's crucial to refrain from physically demanding tasks for a minimum of six weeks following tracheostomy surgery. Until your doctor has approved it as safe and you have discussed the demands of your employment with them, you should not go back to work.

Smokes, sprays, and powders that could irritate your trach should be avoided. It's crucial to keep your tracheostomy covered, especially when you go outside or take a bath, to prevent dirt and water from getting inside the tube. You're not supposed to try swimming.

Life expectancy and quality of life

A recent study found that 46.5% of patients were still alive a year after their tracheostomy, and 22.1% of patients passed away within 30 days after the treatment.

The main factor influencing your quality of life and life expectancy following a tracheostomy is the medical reason for the procedure. You can learn more about the potential effects of a tracheostomy on life expectancy by reading this article.

What can assist you following a tracheostomy in speaking or communicating?

You might benefit from having a speaking valve attachment at the top of your tracheostomy tube after surgery. It shuts whenever you exhale. Air can enter the tube using a speaking valve attachment, but it can also exit through the mouth and nose. Speaking is made simpler and air leaks are stopped as a result.

To help you learn how to swallow and speak in new ways, speech and language therapy may be required even with the assistance of a speaking valve attachment. Apps that imitate their noises, such as Talking Tom Cat, might provide additional motivation for young children to continue practising.

If speech is tough for you, you might want to try these other ways of communicating:
  • mobile applications that transcribe text to voice
  • sign language
  • message boards featuring symbols, numbers, characters, and things


The way air enters the body is affected by a tracheostomy. At first, this may make it difficult to swallow and speak. You can regain these skills with the use of assistive technology and speech and language therapy.

Any health worries you may have regarding your tracheostomy should be discussed with your doctor. There's a possibility that the surgery will harm your larynx. The procedure's overall quality of life will be significantly impacted by any underlying medical issues.


Can you ever talk again after a tracheostomy?

Use a speaking valve

Can a person with a tracheostomy speak?

You cannot speak this way when you have a trach.

Is tracheostomy successful?

In ICU patients receiving prolonged MV, tracheostomy is linked to lower in-hospital mortality and higher rates of effective weaning.

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