Voice restoration following laryngectomy can be achieved by the now well accepted technique of inserting a ’Blom–Singer‘ prosthesis through a tracheo-oesophageal fistula created either primarily or secondarily. Recognized complications of primary puncture and valve insertion include haemorrhage, oesophageal perforation, peristomal cellulitis and aspiration of saliva. We describe the previously unreported complication of a submental abscess developing probably as a result of air being forced from the fistula up between the trachea and the pharynx, this plane not having fully healed as a result of previous radiotherapy. The problem was compounded by the patient's over-zealous attempts to phonate. To prevent this problem arising in future we recommend leaving the fistula at least six weeks to mature before inserting the valve, when the patient has had previous radiotherapy, and encouraging relaxation when learning to phonate with this technique.