Water therapy & swimming
Swimming is good for us! And it makes us feel good, too. However, laryngectomees are not supposed to swim without using special aids, since the tracheostoma is either very close to the surface of the water when they swim or even below it. Specific water therapy devices have been developed to prevent water from entering the tracheostoma when swimming. Other types of water sports, such as water gymnastics, also require the use of a water therapy device that reliably prevents water from entering the windpipe.
Construction and function of a water therapy device.
Using a water therapy device
Theoretical and practical instruction in the use of a water therapy device must be given by an experienced trainer of the Federal Association of Laryngectomees before such as device can be used. The prescribing ENT specialist will also decide the optimum size of the tracheal cannula of the water therapy device. The cannula must fit precisely and be carefully blocked when in water in order to prevent water from entering the wind pipe while the individual is swimming. However, this is not possible with every tracheostoma. If there is any doubt regarding the stability of the tracheostoma, or if it is difficult to choose the right size of cannula, then the advice of an ENT practitioner with tracheostoma experience is to be sought.
In some countries the Federal Association of Layngectomees has issued leaflets with important information on the use of water therapy devices, which it is happy to provide!