Speech Therapists Can Help Improve Swallowing

Published: April 15, 2014

Adults may experience feeding and swallowing problems due to such diseases or disorders as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Those with cancer of the mouth, throat or esophagus, head or neck injury or decayed or missing teeth may also have difficulty swallowing.

Signs of a swallow problem include:

  • Coughing during or right after eating or drinking
  • Wet or gurgly sounding voice during or after eating or drinking
  • Extra effort to time needed to chew or swallow
  • Food or liquid leaking from the mouth or getting stuck in the mouth
  • Recurring pneumonia or chest congestion after eating
  • Weight loss or dehydration from not being able to eat enough

Speech therapists address feeding and swallowing problems with exercises to improve the muscles of the face, tongue and neck. They teach positions and strategies to help swallow in a way that is more effective and safe. The therapist may also suggest specific food and liquid textures that are easier and safer to swallow.

The speech therapy staff at Passavant Community can help you improve your ability to swallow safely, allowing food and liquid to be enjoyed. They are available on an outpatient basis by calling (724) 452-3492 or via home health services by calling (877) 862-6659.

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