Voice and swallowing


If you needed a breathing tube or a tracheostomy, you may notice some difference in your voice. You may also have some discomfort when talking. Generally, the sicker you have been and the longer you have needed ICU management, the weaker your muscles will have become. This also means it will take longer to recover.

Just like other muscles, your voice and swallow should improve with time. Try not to whisper or strain. You may find you need to rest your voice as well as your body.

If you find things are not improving it is best to see your local doctor. Ask for a referral to an “Ear Nose and Throat (ENT)” doctor or “Speech Pathologist”.


If you needed a breathing tube, a tracheostomy or a feeding tube you may notice some difficulties swallowing your saliva, food, drinks or medicine.

Signs of trouble swallowing can be:

  • coughing or gagging with food or drinks
  • losing weight (without trying to)
  • having the feeling of something being stuck in your throat.

You may also notice that you have a dry mouth. A dry mouth may be helped by artificial saliva drops in the short term which you can get from your chemist.

If you are having trouble with your swallowing it is best to see your General Practitioner (GP). They may refer you to a “Speech Pathologist”.

Related topics

This topic was reviewed by an intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.

Skip to content