This health video focuses on a new device which is used in the laryngectomy process.
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Jennifer Mathews: Talking on the phone and typing at the same time may not seem like a big challenge, but it's a huge accomplishment for Tom Owens. Cancer forced Tom to have his voice box removed. In order to speak, Tom had to put his finger on the hole in his throat called a stoma. Tom now wears this new device that has a one-way valve. It allows him to talk without his hands. Speech pathologist Linda Stachowiak says, free-Hands device is a big improvement for patients. They can wear it all day with ease. Dr. Linda Stachowiak: Whether it be returning to work, or be fishing and talking to your buddies while you're cleaning the fish or out on the golf course, the ability to not use your hands to cover the stoma is a significant advantage. Jennifer Mathews: Tom is the fourth person in the United States to try this device. He's thrilled with how it works. Tom Owens: The most important reason is I feel more like everybody else. I don't have that constant thing that brings attention to my way of talking. Jennifer Mathews: His wife Gail points out another improvement. Mrs. Ownes: I can understand him a lot better and I think everybody else can too. Jennifer Mathews: There is only one problem she says. Mrs. Ownes: that he never stops talking. Jennifer Mathews: A problem she's happy to live with. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.