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Voice & Swallowing

UT Health's board-certified ENT specialists provide complete ear services for all ages. From diagnosis, to medical and surgical treatments, our mission is to provide the highest quality care for all your ENT needs.

To learn more about commonly treated conditions and procedures, click the boxes below.

Hoarseness, an abnormal change in your voice, is a common condition that’s often experienced in conjunction with a dry or scratchy throat.

If your voice is hoarse, you may have a raspy, weak, or airy quality to your voice that prevents you from making smooth vocal sounds.

This symptom commonly stems from an issue with the vocal cords and may involve an inflamed larynx (voice box). This is known as laryngitis.

If you have persistent hoarseness lasting for more than 10 days, seek medical attention, as you may have a serious underlying medical condition.

Swallowing is a complex process that changes over time, and swallowing difficulty (dysphagia) can be associated with aging. Changes in the tongue, upper throat (pharynx), vocal cords and voice box (larynx), and lower throat (esophagus) occur with aging.

It has been estimated that more than 20 percent of individuals over the age of 50 experience dysphagia.1 Since the aging population is increasing, a significant number of individuals will experience changes in swallowing over time. By understanding normal, as well as abnormal, age-related changes, doctors and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who specialize in swallowing disorders can better counsel patients, and target treatment strategies.

What Are the Symptoms of Swallowing Difficulty?

When you have difficulty swallowing, you may be experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Increased effort to move food and liquids from the mouth into the upper throat (pharynx)
  • Increased effort or resistance moving food from the upper throat (pharynx) into the lower throat (esophagus)
  • Food getting stuck
  • Pills getting stuck
  • Regurgitation of food (can be right away with swallowing or delayed)
  • Coughing and/or choking with eating and drinking
  • Recurrent lung infections
  • Weight loss due to food avoidance

To learn more about ear, nose and throat services or to schedule an appointment, call 903-676-3316.

Providers For Voice & Swallowing

Tina P. Elkins, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)