How to design?

People who have stoma need medical device to protect the stoma. When they go out wearing that device, all eyes might turn on their neck. So I’m planning to make jewellery that has a function of protecting stoma but looks like beautiful normal jewellery.

After research about laryngeal cancer and problems of having stoma on neck, I realized that material could be important element for those people. Existing current stoma jewellery aimed at just hiding the stoma is made by hard material. It is likely to scar the skin around the stoma.

I considered material that could be safe, soft, and convenient for stoma jewellery. People who have stoma normally use scarfs, stickers and bibs. Those are all soft and light materials. I needed to think of soft and light material. Thread has lots of advantages for stoma jewellery. As I mentioned above, that is soft and very safe material. Thread can absorb mucus. Sometimes, after surgery, mucus comes from the stoma. Because they do not use nose anymore. So I decided to use thread to design the stoma jewellery combined with H.M.E.

When people only wear H.M.E on the middle of their neck, it looks weird. H.M.E is round shape. I tried to design necklace using round shape of pattern. Pattern can be very powerful method for jewellery design. There are several benefits of using round patterns especially for stoma jewellery. If I use round shape, it can split people’s attention because H.M.E’s round can be just one round shape among many other round shapes.

According to my research, after laryngeal cancer surgery patients have to breathe with their stoma not with their nose anymore. If something covers the stoma, it should be something that is easy to carry the air through. So I thought using wire would be better than solid silver. I decided I would design jewellery with round pattern using thread and silver wire for one of my stoma jewellery.


Modeling H.M.E

Actually I decided to make stoma jewellery combined with H.M.E (Heat and Moisture Exchanger) that can help people protect the stoma from dust, heat, water, and infections. So I needed to research more about H.M.E to have information like size, material, and accurate function. I tried to buy a H.M.E on internet. But it was really expensive to buy just one piece of product. It costs from 600 pounds to 700 pounds. Because most H.M.Es include a valve which is a device that helps patients generate voice. So I’m hesitating to get it.

Fortunately, I could get pictures and information about H.M.E on the internet. There were various kinds of H.M.E and I could also get to know the size, and more information that was important for patients. Most inner diameter of H.M.E is 15mm and outer diameter is 22mm. and I tried to make H.M.E modeling using paper based on real size.

Making real size H.M.E’s was important for me to design stoma jewellery. And I could guess some good material that can be connected with H.M.E.

Materials for stoma jewellery

I decided to make jewellery that is safe, convenient, and useful for people who have stoma. So material would be important for those people. When I researched about them, the stoma doesn’t have any function of keeping moisture like our nose. So they wear H.M.E(heat and moisture exchanger), scarf, sticker and so on.

Cotton and thread are soft and light. They can keep moisture and heat. And they can absorb liquid. Sometimes, mucus comes from their stoma. So, these materials can also absorb. They are easy to clean, too.

Thin silver or gold wire is also light and soft. Current metal jewellery for laryngectomees looks like hard and heavy, so they can scar the skin around the stoma. But this wire is soft. This is safe and it’s easy to make any shape using hand or hooked needle.

Silver has another function. If there was poison, the silver changes its color from white to black like this. Silver also has anti-bacteria function.

Prototyping workshop – Feedbacks

I decided to make functional and beautiful jewellery.

First of all, I wanted to know what function patients need, and what kind of features people think are important for their jewellery.

I was supposed to do prototyping with laryngectomees but this is really sensitive subject, and I wanted to be careful. So instead I had a workshop with someone who has laryngectomee around them.

I made initial 3d products and prepared some papers that include photos and explanations about my jewellery idea. Each paper had a big space that they could write down their opinions and feeling in. I explained them about each idea with information paper, and they asked me any question.

They tried and tested my work and gave me opinions and feedback. And kindly, one of them crossed out more than half the words in my paper and corrected my English mistake.

About message idea, their feedback was like this

–  This can be useful and looks pretty.

– But the position of stoma is the middle of neck, so if a big, hard metal square comes into the middle of neck, it would be uncomfortable.

–  This is for covering the stoma, so it has to be fixed in the position of stoma. But if it is attached on neck, then rolling the message would be difficult. Or if it is not attached tight, the stoma can be shown.

– It can make scar when patients nod. Etc.

About whistle idea, their feedback was like this

– This is good idea because if there is whistle in the necklace, they will have it everywhere for emergency situations.

– They can also use this at home to call their kids for meal time etc.

– But it’s hard to be smaller because it has to cover the stoma to be blown.-it has to be bigger than stoma.

About Stoma Cover idea, their feedback was like this

–  This would be pretty.

– H.M.E. is very useful and common equipment. So if there is jewellery that matches H.M.E, it must be great.

– But there are many types of H.M.E. and is it possible to make jewellery that can be combined with all types of H.M.E?

My participants encouraged me that these are all good ideas, and also pointed out many problems that I hadn’t thought of so far. I really appreciate them.

They gave the highest score to the H.M.E. cover idea, and this is a graph that is from their answers to my questionnaire.

Before my workshop, I thought they might have counted on function the most. But after getting their opinions and feedback, I was surprised.

 They all said that the function is important. – But they consider highly how they look with this jewellery.

I mostly focused on function and wearing sensation because I placed emphasis on the fact that they are patients, and I think I forgot that the most basic and important function of jewellery is “beauty”.

Prototyping – Workshop

Before starting designing my jewellery, I had to examine my concepts and choose one concept.

Opinions and feedback are really important because the concepts were just my ideas from research. So I needed to test practicality, utility, and preference.

But I couldn’t ask about my concepts and ideas directly to patients who had laryngeal surgery. Because this subject is really sensitive and I need to beware. Moreover, laryngeal cancer is just 1% of all cancers, so it’s hard to find many patients who had laryngeal surgery.

So I started to find someone who has patient who had laryngeal surgery around them. I asked some help to my friends. Thanksfully, I could meet some people who have patients who had laryngeal surgery as their neighbour, grandmother, friends’ grandmother, aunt etc. They all knew about laryngectomy and had information about the life of patient who had laryngeal surgery.

We had workshop about concept, function, areas for improvement etc.

My questionnaire is shown below.

Patient who had laryngeal surgeryis a patient who got their voice box removed out from their neck by surgery -mostly because of laryngeal cancer.

Patients who had laryngeal surgeryhave hole on their neck. This hole is connected to the lungs directly. And they can’t use their voice box. So, they have to be careful of all dangers (water, dust, gems, insects, cold air etc.). And they need some equipment (like HME-heat and moisture exchanger-, valve, sticker, bib etc.) that helps them generate voice and stay in safe.

So, they need special jewellery to cover and protect their stoma and also to make them look adorable.

This jewellery is not simply for hiding the stoma but also for protecting their stoma and even for redounding to the patients using stoma.


Not only language is a tool of communication. Art also can be an effective tool of communication.


This jewellery contains important messages in itself. The outside of it just looks like normal jewellery. But if you spin the role, each role has different messages and you can give them messages directly without your voice or paper.

Patients who had laryngeal surgerycan be in a difficult and embarrassing situation in the daily routine. They make a voice with esophagus (food way) or equipment, so their voice is not normal. Sometimes people who didn’t know if they were patients who had laryngeal surgery would be surprised by the voice. What will happen if the speech equipment doesn’t work and they need to talk? Sometimes patient who had laryngeal surgery may not able to speak in an emergency situation.

At this point, patients need help, and the message jewelry will be useful.

This jewellery contains four kinds of message.

1. I’m laryngectomy

2. My voice is from device and strange.

3. I’m in emergency. Please call 123 2345 4567

4. Give me pen and paper.

You can change these messages easily and make up your own messages by yourself.


1. Do you think this jewellery is beautiful?

2. Do you think this jewellery is useful?

3. Do you think this jewellery is comfortable and safe?

4. Are there any features that you want to compensate or change? (ex, size, shape, colour, material, and so on)

5. If you were a patient who had laryngeal surgery, would you want to wear it?

Whistle Jewellery

After surgery, patients who had laryngeal surgery are not able to make a loud voice. It’s really hard to draw someone’s attention if the person is not looking at you. Especially in emergency situation and when you need a help, but if there’s no one near you, you will need this. This jewellery has special whistle that can be blown with their neck hole. Blow small and pretty, but loud whistle in this jewellery, and you will people’s attention.

Stoma Cover Brooch jewellery

We breathe through nose. And nose also has different function. There are mucus and hair inside nose and they protect your lungs from cold or dry air and from gems and dust, too.

Patients who had laryngeal surgerybreathe though their stoma and the stoma doesn’t have that function. So they need a device that is called HME (Heat and Moisture Exchanger). But if they go out putting HME in the stoma, all eyes can be turned on their neck.

And people a chain for pendant. But patients who had laryngeal surgery can use this HME to hold the pendant. So they don’t need a chain. And HME helps the pendant to stay in a same (the middle) place.

The features of this jewellery are

– It’s super ultra light. They won’t feel any weight from this jewellery.

– It’s is made of silver and yarn. Silver has antibacterial function and yarn also can keep heat and moisture for their stoma.

If i were people who have stoma..

If I were them, what do I need heartily?

I imagine if I am at a garden and I want to call my mom at home, I would always have to come into house to touch her to get an attention. (Because laryngectomee’s voice is usually small.) In this case, whistles can be fixed when I need something very powerful.

Whistle is a good way especially in daily life in the house or yard when they need to get someone’s attention and they are not loud enough to scare the neighbors.

So if I make jewellery with whistle, it would be useful for them.

Research about HME

Research about HME

HME (heat moisture exchange) is very important for laryngectomees. This HME includes filter that can capture the worm, moisture air upon exhalation.  While I was doing research about patients who had laryngeal surgery, I realized this function is very useful. There is mucus which keeps the air moist and clean from cold air and dust in people’s noses. And it protects people’s lungs. However, patients who had laryngeal surgery don’t use their nose and they breathe through their stoma. However the stoma doesn’t have heat and moisture controlling and cleaning function.

In addition to HME filters reduce the inhalation of bacteria, viruses and dust. The patients who had laryngeal surgery have stoma so everything can be dangerous for them even bacteria as well. They have to keep the stoma clean every day. In the case of going out, putting HME on the neck would be good way to protect them.

In my point of view as a design student, if I wear this cover, it would not be good looking, and I would not want to show others wearing it. When I search some experiences and examples of wearing HME, I read some stories. They felt more comfortable because HME keeps their airway from drying and freezing. But they have to become accustomed to the eyes fixed on their neck. But this cover is very useful for patient who had laryngeal surgery.

So I would like to redesign the shape of HME cover to be better looking like jewellery. It can help laryngctomees to wear it outside.

This is a link about HME research

This is a link of patient’s story that has a stoma.