Few things are as embarrassing as swallowing loudly when eating or drinking in public. Most people consider it bad manners, even if it’s not done on purpose at all.
To avoid any future embarrassment, it’s essential to learn how to swallow quietly. Luckily for you, I’m here to teach you all about it. Read on, and take notes!
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Why Do Some People Swallow Loudly?
There are several reasons for loud swallowing in both kids and adults. Let’s dive into them together.
Swallowing Excess Air
In most cases, swallowing is noisy when you take in air along with the food or drink you’re ingesting. The air is lighter, so it enters your throat before the beverage or snack.
Upon racing your vocal cords, the air causes a gulping sound that can vary in volume. The more air there is, the louder this sound will be and the more discomfort you’ll feel when swallowing.
You’ll usually experience this issue when trying to eat or drink something really quickly. In such circumstances, you won’t be able to control how much air you breathe in while swallowing. As a result, you will make more noise and make the entire ordeal uncomfortable for your throat.
Having a Strong Tongue
Sometimes, people swallow loudly simply because their tongue muscles are stronger than the average. If that’s the case, the tongue pushes foods and liquids down one’s throat faster, which results in a gulping noise.
Although it might seem like a rare issue, having a strong tongue is actually pretty common. So, it is not a condition that needs to be treated or cured. It is just there, and yours is to learn how to manage it (more on that later).
Swallowing Too Much All at Once
Another frequent cause of loud swallowing is ingesting too much food or liquid all at once. When that happens, the throat has trouble accepting the heavier load, which brings about the embarrassing noise that you hate.
Eating or Drinking Hot Foods and Beverages
When the food or beverage you’re ingesting is too hot, you’ll instinctively try to swallow it faster to avoid burning your mouth and throat. This fact will result in noisy (and possibly messy) swallowing.
Having a Strong Gag Reflex
As you probably already know, the gag reflex is an involuntary reflex that occurs when something touches the base of your tongue or your tonsillar area. It usually manifests through a gagging motion and sound, which is how it got its name.
Now, this reflex is stronger in some and non-existent in others. However, it is especially prominent in kids, which is why they usually swallow both solids and liquids so loudly.
Having Nasal Congestion
Your tongue and throat aren’t the only important factors that contribute to swallowing. In fact, if your nose is congested, you’ll both chew and swallow more loudly than usual.
Now, in most cases, this predicament will not last too long. As soon as the cold, allergic reaction, or whatever else is causing the congestion is over, everything should go back to normal.
As you age, the muscles in your mouth and throat — and everywhere else, for that matter — begin to relax. Consequently, you start having less and less control over them as time goes by.
In terms of swallowing, that manifests in louder gulps for both foods and beverages. Of course, this phenomenon is not something one can remedy, and it greatly depends on your overall health and genetics.
Eating and Drinking at the Same Time
Many people enjoy washing down their bites with a sip or two of their favorite drink. However, as comforting as this habit might be, it usually leads to gulping, slurping, and coughing instead.
If you think about it, it’s easy to see why. As you take in the liquid while in the process of swallowing, you also inhale some air. When it all mixes in your mouth, chaos ensues, and everyone around you hears it.
Not Being Mindful
Last but not least, loud swallowing is sometimes just an annoying habit that some people form inadvertently. When it goes unchecked, it becomes extremely hard to kick, no matter how hard you try.
How to Swallow More Quietly: 9 Tried and True Tips
Now that you know what causes loud swallowing, it’s time to tackle some tips on how to stop it. Follow along!
1. Take Small Bites and Sips
As already mentioned, taking large bites and gulps often leads to loud swallows that everyone can hear. So, the solution is simple: just try and make your bites and sips smaller. By doing that, you will not overextend your throat, and it will accept what you swallow without a hitch.
Granted, this tip might not be as easy to manage if you’re really hungry or thirsty. Still, taking too much water or food all at once isn’t healthy for you, so slowing things down is good for more than one reason.
Aside from making your bits and sips smaller, you should also ensure you chew your food thoroughly. Sometimes, even a small bite can cause noise if you don’t work it with your teeth enough.
2. Take Your Time
To avoid taking in too much air as you swallow, it’s pivotal to drink and eat slowly. Give yourself time to savor what you’re having, and make sure you expel as much air as you can before swallowing.
Also, try not to talk while eating. As fun as it is to chat over meals, at least give yourself a few seconds to swallow quietly before you jump back in. Otherwise, your mouth will constantly be full of air, making your swallowing extra loud.
3. Use a Straw
If you notice that you’re mainly struggling with swallowing liquids quietly, a straw might be just what you need. Besides ensuring you drink slowly, it will also help by reducing the amount of air you take in with your drink.
And if you’re icky about using straws or think they’re childish, just think of all their other advantages. They can help you avoid spills, make sure you don’t strain your neck, and let you enjoy your drink for longer.
To make sure you can always swallow quietly in public, it’s a good idea to buy a reusable water bottle with a straw like this one. They come in countless colors and styles, so you can get a pretty accessory as well as a handy tool.
4. Visit Your Doctor
In case your problems with swallowing are caused by a congested nose or a persistent throat ache, it’s best to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Your symptoms might be pointing to something more severe than a simple cold, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Besides doing a checkup, your doctor might even give you some tips for managing the swallowing issue. These could include mouth and throat exercises, as well as some meds for your muscles.
5. Temperature Check Your Drinks and Food
No matter how hungry or thirsty you are, it’s important to let your food and drinks cool down a bit before consuming them. That way, you’ll avoid being noisy and making a mess in front of others.
If you really can’t wait, drink a glass of water while your coffee or tea cools. Likewise, have a little snack as you wait for your meal to be at room temperature. That should be enough to tide you over until the real deal.
6. Never Drink and Eat at the Same Time
No matter how appealing it might sound, it’s best not to wash your bites down with liquid while eating. As already mentioned, it will only lead to you inhaling excess air, causing even more noise than usual.
Instead, wait until you have fully swallowed your bite before drinking something. And if you find that you can’t, you likely aren’t chewing your food long enough, causing dryness and difficulty swallowing.
However, if this problem persists, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor. Having trouble swallowing food without liquid might be a sign of an underlying issue, so it’s best to check.
7. Avoid Carbonated Beverages
The same rule for inhaling excess air when swallowing goes for other gasses as well. So, when you drink any carbonated drink — be it a soda or sparkling water — the carbon you ingest can cause noise as well.
One way to avoid this issue is to ditch carbonated drinks altogether. Doing so will be great for your health, too, so it’s a win-win situation.
Still, if you can’t quite say goodbye to your favorite beverages, try to consume them more slowly. Whether you use a straw or just take smaller sips, it should be enough to put an end to any embarrassing sounds.
8. Learn How to Breathe Properly
I’ve already mentioned that inhaling too much air while eating or drinking can cause a lot of noise while swallowing. However, the same goes for not inhaling enough of it.
Namely, the lack of oxygen makes your muscles constrict. That, in turn, leads to you swallowing hard and making gulping or gurgling sounds.
So, the best way to succeed is to find a middle ground. In other words, try to inhale enough air to breathe comfortably, but not so much that it causes you issues with swallowing.
Although that might sound too complicated, it will come naturally. Just listen to your body and how it reacts as you practice, and you’ll figure it out in no time.
9. Be More Careful
And finally, sometimes, all it takes to swallow quietly is to actively practice it.
Namely, many people don’t pay attention to the sounds they make while eating and drinking. As a result, they might not be aware that they chew or swallow loudly in the first place.
The best way to remedy this situation is to pay special attention to how you eat and drink. If you notice any noise, focus on ingesting your food or drink more slowly and listen for any changes.
Although kicking old habits is quite difficult, you can definitely do it with enough time and effort. And, since you’ll be replacing one habit with another, the process will be even smoother.
A Few Final Thoughts
Swallowing loudly when eating or drinking can be pretty embarrassing, especially if it happens in public. In most cases, it is caused by ingesting something too fast, talking while doing it, and not being mindful of the noise you make.
Luckily, this problem is usually quite easy to fix. You simply need to focus on your breathing while you drink and eat. In addition, it would help if you avoided carbonated drinks, used a straw, and chewed your food thoroughly.
By trying out all of these tips, you’ll surely find what is causing your swallowing issues. When you do, make sure to persevere, as every habit can be broken if you try hard enough. Good luck!
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