For older people, problems with hoarseness and swallowing can cause serious harm to health and quality of life.
And new research from Duke shows that about three-quarters of seniors with these conditions tend not to get medical treatment, even though the problems can increase frailty by making it harder to talk, eat and drink.
Dr. Seth Cohen, a Duke ear, nose and throat specialist, will present the research today in Chicago to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
“The bottom line is that anyone who has voice problems for more than two weeks – and it's more than just a cold – it needs to be evaluated,” Cohen said.
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Nearly one of out five people in the study had hoarseness, weakness or loss of voice. About one of seven had painful swallowing, researchers said.