There are many possible factors which can contribute to swallowing problems. The swallowing mechanism is very complex, involving several phases and multiple muscle groups acting in very fine coordination to facilitate passage of food or liquid bolus safely into the upper esophagus. There is an inherent challenge to swallowing we all face at every age. At one point or another everyone has aspirated – an event where one tries to speak to quickly after swallowing liquid or food (“getting something caught in the wrong pipe or windpipe”). Our bodies have evolved extremely complex and well-coordinated throat mechanisms to protect our airway as we swallow, but sometimes we forget to swallow completely before speaking. Perhaps the most common cause of swallowing problems is eating too fast and taking bites which are too large. Small bites well-chewed and then carefully swallowed will help prevent most episodes of aspiration. The number one cause of admission to the hospital in the over 65 year-old age group is aspiration. As we age, our muscles get weaker, including our throat and swallowing muscles. Hence it is very important in this age group to pay extra attention to proper swallowing techniques (small bites, extensive chewing, and then holding one’s breath for an extra 1-2 seconds after feeling the bolus go down).

Other contributing causes of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) include reflux laryngitis (GERD), infection, neck trauma, autoimmune disease, and rarely benign tumors and cancer. It is important if dysphagia persists for more than one week to have an evaluation by an otolaryngologist. It dysphagia is severe and prevents eating or drinking, one should seek immediate medical attention (go to the Emergency Room or call 911). An evaluation for swallowing problems starts with a thorough history and physical exam. The exam will likely include a flexible laryngeal endoscopy. The can be done in about 5 minutes in the office while awake. No anesthesia is required. It is very well-tolerated, and can give very useful information as it allows for direct inspection in the deeper throat, and voice box and esophagus. Find helpful information regarding ear neck and throat pain, ear neck and throat specialist, ear nose throat symptoms and more.


Welcome to OC Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery.

Leading Specialized Head and Neck Surgeons in Irvine and all of Orange County




We provide comprehensive medical and surgical ear, nose, and throat care for adults and children. Our in-office services include balloon sinuplasty to immediately relieve sinusitis, CT scans of the ears and sinuses, as well as allergy testing and immunotherapy. We also offer complete state-of-the-art hearing evaluations and hearing aid fittings. We perform surgeries at Hoag Hospital in Irvine and Newport Beach, Mission Hospital, CHOC Children’s Hospital, and Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

We focus on individualized care and on developing trusting relationships with our patients. We never rush an appointment and we empower our patients with full understandings of each diagnosis. We look forward to meeting you!


Diagnose and treat all medical ear, nose, and throat concerns

Perform all specialized surgical procedures to address medical head, neck, ear, nose, and throat issues

Conduct all diagnostic and advanced hearing test with individualized hearing and fitting


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Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding your insurance plan. 

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Orange Coast ENT Head and Neck Surgery
16100 Sand Canyon Avenue, Suite 230 A
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: 949-243-7787
Fax: 949-715-0504

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