About Us


At the Airway Company, we are dedicated to designing innovative and revolutionary products for tracheotomy patients. Our mission is simple: make speech attainable, make breathing easier, restore pulmonary health, and improve the patient’s quality of life. Our devices are designed not only to achieve this mission but also to be as light, discreet, and comfortable as possible. To date, thousands of patients enjoy the many advantages of the Shikani Speaking Valve™ and the Shikani HME™.

Our primary responsibility is to the tracheotomy patients, speech language pathologists, respiratory therapists, ENT physicians, and other providers who specialize in airway disorders. We are currently active in research and development, and we strive continually to provide the highest quality products, services, and information in order to meet their needs.

Our Goal and History:

Our goal is to invent and design innovative airway-related products that have the potential to improve the lives of millions of adults and pediatric tracheotomy patients. Our success is grounded in our ability to innovate and our constant development of breakthrough airway medical devices that are uniquely designed for efficiency and patient comfort. Although a tracheotomy can be mentally stressful and physically handicapping, we at the Airway Company believe it does not have to limit the quality of a patient’s everyday life. All trach patients deserve the opportunity to breathe freely and to speak clearly without compromising pulmonary health or comfort.

Before the introduction of tracheotomy speaking valves, the only method of restoring phonation in patients with tracheotomies was direct finger occlusion of the cannula opening. The flapper membrane speaking valve was a phenomenal breakthrough that was brought to market in the 1980s, but that has remained substantially unchanged since then. The Shikani Speaking Valve™ – initially a collaboration between Dr. Arthur Siebens (former director of the Johns Hopkins Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital), Joseph French (a biomedical engineer), and Dr. Alan Shikani (director of Otolaryngology at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital) – is the first true innovation in the field of phonation speaking valves since the flapper valve was invented in the 1980s. The Shikani Speaking Valve’s™ novel ball design allows tracheotomy patients to speak and breathe more freely and with significantly less airway resistance as compared to competitive flapper speaking valves on the market today.

Following the invention of the Shikani Speaking Valve™, Dr. Shikani subsequently invented the Shikani HME™, a revolutionary device that allows patients to restore essential respiratory functions, thereby improving their pulmonary health. The device warms, humidifies, and filters inhaled air, and is uniquely designed to work in conjunction with the Shikani Speaking Valve™. Used in unison, the Shikani Speaking Valve™ and the Shikani HME™ replicate many of the essential functions of the nose and mouth, which are bypassed when the patient breathes directly through the tracheotomy tube. Remarkably, the combination of the two devices allows patients to speak and to heat and humidify air simultaneously, a revolutionary concept in the field of tracheotomy patient care. Although these devices can be used independent of one another, the combination of the two restores a tracheotomy patient’s quality of life in an unmatched way.