Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Rebecca Zarate


Tracheostomy patients struggle with one of the most significant and essential components to the human identity, that is, communication. When a person’s communication is obstructed, access to their intangible, inner world is also severed – leaving their thoughts, feelings, and memories, all of which are core to the human experience, unshared. Speech assistance for tracheostomy patients currently includes above cuff vocalization efforts using one-way speaking valves, augmentative and alternative communication methods such as speech generating devices and the electrolarynx. This thesis will introduce and discuss a musical instrument effect called the talk box as an integration of music therapy techniques that address speech and language deficiencies in tracheostomy patients. A talk box consists of a mini speaker amplifier with an input for instruments and an output where a plastic tube can be attached. The distal end of the plastic tube is placed in a speaker’s mouth where they can use their articulators to form consonant and vowel shapes. The resulting effect amplifies the instrument’s output into the speaker’s mouth where words or phrases can be spoken or sung. Using an instrument with the talk box allows for a real-time adjustment of pitch, quality, loudness, timbre, and tempo. A large part of music therapy incorporates the use of music and instruments to help a patient with non-musical goals. The talk box could provide tracheostomy patients with a non-invasive and non-permanent approach to speaking and singing, as well as an opportunity to reclaim a missing part of their identity that cannot be replaced or replicated.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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