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  • Swimming as a laryngectomee

    Swimming as a laryngectomee

    After an overall or partial laryngectomy, the swimming habits you had before the surgical treatment should alter.

    In this article, we will share some helpful tips on how to adjust to your new reality as a neck breather.


    Swimming or getting into water can be extremely hazardous for a laryngectomee.


    As soon as the stoma is under water, water can get into the trachea and the lungs leading to drowning.

    This can also cause aspiration pneumonia.

    It might be safe to get in shallow and calm waters as long as the water level is kept at a safe range below the stoma to allow breathing and prevent aspiration.

    Some laryngectomees take brief swims or get under the water for a couple of seconds after occluding their stoma with a finger.

    Some use a baseplate and seal it with an improvised locked HME.

    There might be emergency situations where a laryngectomee is forced to enter into the water.


    In such circumstance it is advisable to:


    • Keep the stoma above water level.
    • Prevent breathing (for a short time) when the water enters into the stoma
    • Wear a life vest that keeps the stoma above water level
    • Use a drifting device that raises the body as much as possible

    It is recommended that laryngectomees prevent circumstances that may put them at risk of getting into water such as rafting, canoeing.


    When planning a boat ride or cruise, it is suggested to:


    Swimming as a laryngectomee, Labex Trade

    • Have a life vest offered and floating tube (with automatic, non-manual inflation).
    • Wear your life vest when required.
    • Understand the evacuation paths and places of floating devices and lifeboats.
    • Practice evacuation procedures.
    • Inform others and the cruise personnel of one’s special requirements.

    Some life vests and floating gadgets need manual air inflation.

    Considering that laryngectomees are unable to do that, they might select to carry a small air pump to pump up the gadgets.


    Some special devices have been created to permit neck breathers to swim.


    Swimming as a laryngectomee, Labex Trade
    The Larchel snorkel is a rubber gadget – a breathing tube inside an inflatable cuff is placed into the stoma and then inflated with an air syringe, forming a seal.

    It is offered in Europe and needs a doctor’s prescription and training.

    Some life vests and floating gadgets need manual air inflation.

    Considering that laryngectomees are unable to do that, they might select to carry a small air pump to pump up the gadgets.


    The threats involved in swimming and diving are high.


    Neck breathers should consult their physicians and speech and language pathologist prior to trying to swim.


    Important when Swimming as a laryngectomee!


    Swimming as a laryngectomee, Labex Trade
    When unclean water enters into the lungs it can in some cases cause pneumonia.

    Developing aspiration pneumonia depends on how much water is inhaled and how much is coughed out, in addition to on the individuals’ body immune system.


    Laryngectomees are at risk of breathing in (aspirating) water that may not be free of germs.


    Tap water consists of bacteria, the variety of germs differs depending upon the cleansing effectiveness of the water treatment centers and their source (e.g., well, lake, river, etc.).

    Pool water contains chloride that reduces, but never decontaminates the water.

    Sea water contains many germs, their nature and concentrations vary.

    Take great precautions if you want to swim or enter waters. Always let someone else know that you are about to swim, so that they can help in case something goes wrong and you lose control.

    Apart from that, like any new state, new skills can be learned and if you absolutely love swimming, invest in the best and latest gadgets/tools to help you carry on with your favourite activity.

    On our website, we offer accessories that will help you protect your stoma in different situations.

    If you decide to become a Labex Trade Electrolarynx customer, you will enjoy 10% off on all accessories in our store.

    Please consider joining our Labex Support Center for Laryngectomee FB group:.


    1 thought on “Swimming as a laryngectomee”

    1. I have swum successfully with my Larry. I am happy to share if of interest. very simple and effective method. not for everybody but it works.


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