Below is a video describing breathing through a tracheostoma, with and without an HME.
HME cassettes are designed to be removed and replaced on a daily basis. The foam media in the cassettes are treated with agents that have antimicrobial properties and help to retain moisture in the lungs. They should not be washed and reused because these agents lose their effectiveness over time or when rinsed by water or other cleaning agents.
They are constructed from soft silicone material and atraumatically shaped to reduce negative side-effects such as stoma irritation and bleeding. They can be worn by laryngectomees regardless of their speaking method. The Provox® LaryButton™ has LaryClips to support retention of the LaryButton, especially when using an automatic speaking valve like the FreeHands HME.
- Speaking slowly
- Speaking only 4-5 words between each air exhalation
- Using diaphragmatic breathing
- Over articulating the words
- Speaking by using low air pressure
Despite the challenge of keeping the seal, many laryngectomee value the ability to speak in a more natural way and the freedom of using both hands. Some learn that they can keep the seal much longer when they use a voice amplifier, thus requiring less effort and generating less air pressure.
The advantage of wearing the HME 24/7 is that its beneficial effects are extended throughout the whole day. A hands free HME should be replaced by a regular HME cassette when sleeping.
Covering ( hiding) the stoma and HME
Read at the Stoma Care section.