Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 [lar´ingks] (Gr.)
the muscular and cartilaginous structure, lined with mucous membrane, situated at the top of the trachea and below the root of the tongue and the hyoid bone; it contains the vocal cords and is the source of the sound heard in speech. The larynx is part of the respiratory system; air passes through it traveling from the pharynx to the trachea on its way to the lungs and again returning to the exterior.

The larynx is composed of nine cartilages that are held together by muscles and ligament: the single thyroid, cricoid, and epiglottic cartilages and the paired arytenoid, corniculate, and cuneiform cartilages. (See also color plates.) The largest of these, the thyroid cartilage, forms the Adam's apple, which protrudes in the front of the neck. Two flexible vocal cords reach from the back to the front wall of the larynx and are manipulated by small muscles to produce sound. The epiglottis, a flap or lid at the base of the tongue, closes the larynx as it is lifted up during swallowing and so prevents passage of food or drink into the larynx and trachea.
artificial larynx an electromechanical device that enables a person after laryngectomy to produce speech. When the device is placed against the region of the laryngectomy a buzzing sound is made that can be converted into simulated speech by movements of the lips, tongue, and glottis. Called also electrolarynx.


Etymology: Gr, elektron, amber + larynx
an electromechanical device that enables a laryngectomized person to speak. When it is placed against the region of the laryngectomy a buzzing sound is produced, which is converted into simulated speech by movements of the organs of articulation (lips, tongue, glottis).


Head & neck surgery A battery-operated instrument that makes a humming sound, used to enable speech in Pts with laryngectomies. See Artificial voice, Laryngectomy.

ar·ti·fi·cial lar·ynx

(ahr'ti-fish'ăl lar'ingks)
Mechanical device used to create alaryngeal speech. The most common types are battery powered and provide a buzzing sound source; the vibrating source is placed against the neck or in the oral cavity through a tube, and speech is articulated normally. Pneumatic assistive listening devices use expired air from the trachea to create vibration, which is relayed to the oral cavity by a tube.
Synonym(s): electrolarynx.
References in periodicals archive ?
To speak, he presses the end of his electrolarynx - a tubular, microphonelike device - against his neck and pushes a button.
One would hold an electrolarynx to her throat, and the other would run a tape recorder or take notes.
Research is in progress in the following areas: development of a wearable voice monitor with biofeedback capability; development of an improved artificial electrolarynx communication system with neural control for patients who have lost their voice boxes (a voice neural prosthesis); development of an automated computer-based voice quality assessment system; development of an ultra high-speed digital imaging system for assessing human vocal cord vibration Dr.