Patient Information – Shikani Speaking Valve™:

Patient 1: How is the Shikani Speaking Valve™ different from other valves?

The Shikani Speaking Valve™ (SSV) is a true innovation in the field of speaking valves. It is a dynamic valve based on a ball design rather than the traditional flapper membrane design. With this valve, you have complete control over how airflow is directed within the upper airway. Depending on how you turn the notch, the valve has two modes of use – “valve up,” i.e. “biased open,” or “valve down,” i.e. “biased closed” – each with its own unique benefits. See for yourself:

Patient 2: What valve position should I start with?

Many patients start with the valve with the notch up in the 12:00 o’clock position (“biased open”). When you use the valve in this position, you are breathing through the tracheostomy tube as if there is no valve in place, until you go to voice. When you attempt to voice, exhale with a little more force, and you will find that you are able to speak freely. You may find that this position is an ideal starter position for you to get used to the valve. However, you should always talk to your doctor or speech pathologist to determine which position is right for you.

Figure 1:
Speaking valve open

Patient 3: When should I use the “valve down” position?

With the notch down in the 6:00 o’clock position, every single breath is going through the upper airway. You may be a good candidate for this position if you can tolerate every breath going through the upper airway, if you are weaning from your tracheostomy tube, if you are receiving nutrition by mouth, or if you wish to speak for extended periods of time. However, you should always talk to your doctor or speech pathologist to determine which position is right for you.

Figure 2:
Speaking valve closed

Patient 4: What are the benefits of the Shikani Speaking Valve™?

As compared to existing flapper membrane valves, the Shikani Speaking Valve™ offers you many advantages and benefits that can improve your overall quality of life. In addition to restoring speech, studies have shown that users of the Shikani Speaking Valve™ can benefit from:

  • Significantly lower airflow resistance, resulting in increased comfort, tolerance, and ease of breathing.
  • Superior voice quality and speech naturalness.
  • Superior olfaction.
  • More effective cough.
  • Improved swallowing.
  • The valve’s discreet, low-profile design (smaller than flapper valves).
  • The valve’s ability to be used in unison with a heat moisture exchanger (HME), allowing effective speech and humidification, warming, and filtration of air at the same time.

Patient 5: How often does the valve need to be replaced?

As with other speaking valves, the Shikani Speaking Valve™ should be replaced every 2-3 months.

Get more detail on the Shikani Speaking Valve™.

Patient Information – Shikani Speaking Valve™ used in conjunction with the Shikani HME™:

Patient 6: What is an HME?

HME stands for “Heat Moisture Exchanger.” Following a tracheotomy, air that is inhaled bypasses the nose, which is the natural warming, humidifying, and filtering organ of the body. These critical airway functions are thus compromised, which can have a severely negative impact on pulmonary health. The HME device functions as an artificial nose and helps restore normalized levels of air temperature, humidity, and particle filtration when air is inhaled through the tracheostoma. Because the HME can restore these critical functions, its use can significantly improve your pulmonary health.

Patient 7: What are the benefits of the Shikani HME™?

The Shikani HME™ efficiently filters airborne environmental particles (dust, bacteria, viruses, pollutants, etc.); it retains moisture and heat from air that is exhaled out of the lungs and into the HME; and upon re-inhalation, it filters, humidifies, and warms air returned to the lungs. The end result is:

  • More normalized and uniform temperature levels from inhaled air.
  • More normalized and uniform humidity levels from inhaled air.
  • Substantially increased particle filtration from inhaled air.
  • Reduced mucus secretion and thickening.
  • Reduced risk of pulmonary infection, a costly procedure to both patients and hospitals.
  • Restored pulmonary conditions and health.

Patient 8: How do the Shikani Speaking Valve™ and Shikani HME™ work together?

When coupled with the Shikani Speaking Valve™, the Shikani HME™ allows effective speech and simultaneous humidification, warming, and filtration of air. You can therefore realize the benefits of both devices by using them together. That said, the Shikani HME™ can also be used independently by placing it directly onto any standard 15mm tracheostomy tube cannula. While these devices can be used independent of one another, the combination of the two can help restore your quality of life in an unmatched way.

Patient 9: How do I position the valve when also using the HME?

If you have a cuffed tracheostomy tube, make sure to deflate the cuff completely. Then, place the Shikani Speaking Valve™ with the notch up in the 12:00 o’clock position (“biased open”). Place the Shikani HME™ on top of the valve. With this combination, you can receive the benefits of both speech and improved pulmonary health.

Patient 10: How often does the HME need to be replaced?

As with other HMEs, the Shikani HME™ should be replaced after 24 hours of use.

Get more detail on the Shikani HME™.