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Swallowing & Voice Therapy

Voice and swallowing issues refer to a broad range of conditions and disorders that affect a person’s ability to speak or perform normal daily activities, such as eating and drinking. Voice and swallowing issues can affect people of all ages and walks of life and, although they may present significant lifestyle barriers, the most common disorders are rarely life-threatening. 

Voice and swallowing disorders can present with a vast range of symptoms that vary depending on which condition is affecting a patient. Symptoms can range from trouble speaking or swallowing to the unexpected or sudden loss of breath or ability to speak. Common symptoms of voice issues or swallowing disorders include:

  • Hoarseness — Hoarseness is the product of abnormal vibration or unwanted air leaks through the vocal folds, often caused by the vocal folds not closing completely. 

  • Difficulty breathing or speaking — Certain vocal disorders make it hard for a person to breathe or speak.

  • Trouble eating — This might mean a person has difficulty swallowing food or liquid on the first try; coughing, choking or gagging when trying to swallow; pain when swallowing; feeling like food or liquid is getting stuck in the chest or throat; and food or liquid coming back up through the throat, nose or mouth.

  • Voice changes — Vocal disorders can cause a person’s voice sounds choppy, strained, strangled, gravely or weak.

  • Weight loss — This symptom is often associated with eating difficulties.

These symptoms often present on a temporary basis and can be successfully managed through lifestyle changes.

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