Your voice is how you communicate with others, and being able to swallow guarantees that you can provide your body with nutrition and hydration. Voice disorders are more common, but swallowing disorders pose a life-threatening risk if not addressed.
There is a complex system involved in the ability to produce sound and speech, and if even one component is compromised, a voice disorder may develop. Symptoms of a voice disorder can be varied, but may include hoarseness, the need to frequently clear the throat, voice fatigue, pain or sore throat with prolonged talking, shortness of breath while speaking, and reduced voice volume.
Those who speak or sing for prolonged periods of time like teachers, telemarketers, lawyers, singers, or actors are more at risk for eventually developing a voice disorder.
Known as dysphagia, swallowing disorders may occur at any point of the swallowing process, which includes oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal. Symptoms vary, but may include the need to cough immediately after eating or drinking, effort required to chew and swallow, chest congestion after eating, food or drink getting stuck in the mouth, and a gurgling sound in the voice after eating or drinking.
Swallowing disorders have the potential to be life-threatening, as there is risk for choking or aspiration.
At Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants, our team is experienced in working with voice and swallowing disorders in both pediatric and adult patients.