​It will affect around one in two stroke survivors, according to the Stroke Association, and roughly at least a third of people with MS.

Meanwhile, over 80 per cent of people with Parkinson’s may be affected (Suttrup et al, 2016).

Speech and language therapists and other rehab professionals may employ a range of techniques aimed at triggering swallowing reflex and strengthening muscles needed for chewing and swallowing.

There are also technologies which can help to tackle the disorder, including Chattanooga’s VitalStim range.

The device unites the power of electrical stimulation with the benefits of swallowing exercises.

It was the first neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) device cleared by the FDA for use in dysphagia therapy and is now used by over 27,000 providers in 40 countries.

Spokesperson Paul Kilduff tells NR Times: “Several studies have shown that using VitalStim can improve the outcomes of stroke patients, in fact leading them to be able to swallow when previously they couldn’t.

“It works by putting electrical stimulation across the throat and measuring the feedback from that stimulation, and helping the patient train their swallow reflex to regain it.

“Although it’s not a new technology, it is definitely being used more having been approved for use in the US and Europe.”

A 2013 study involving the Carlos III Health Institute in Barcelona, Spain, tested the device on 20 post-stroke patients with a mean age of 75.

It concluded that VitalStim is a safe and effective treatment for chronic poststroke dysphagic patients.

Numerous other studies have taken place since, including, in 2018, by the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University in China.

Its study of 30 patients with dysphagia for less than six months found that VitalStim treatment added to traditional dysphagia therapy, producing significantly better swallowing effectiveness and safety outcome scores.