Standardized Behavioral Treatment Improves Chronic Cough

Eleni A. Varelas, Chaewon Hwang, Sarah Brown, Joseph Chang, Medha Sataluri, Diana Kirke, Mark Courey, Leanne Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Neurogenic Laryngeal Hypersensitivity (NLH) refers to a constellation of upper airway symptoms thought to be caused by a disturbance in afferent and/or efferent neural pathways creating an exaggerated hypersensitive laryngeal response. There is evidence to support behavioral therapy as treatment for improving symptoms from laryngeal motor dysfunction to sensory disturbance. This study aims to determine if there is significant symptomatic improvement in patients with NLH who received non-pharmacologic behavioral treatment performed by trained SLPs. Study design: A retrospective review. Methods: A review of all patients with NLH from 2017 to 2020 was performed at a tertiary care voice and swallowing center. Subjects with persistent symptoms despite maximal medical management were considered for inclusion. Newcastle Laryngeal Hypersensitivity Questionnaire (NLHQ) was completed by patients before and after undergoing therapy by one of three trained SLPs. Posttherapy improvement was determined by utilizing the NLHQ's minimal clinically important difference of 1.7 points. Results: A total of 81 patients were included in this study. Study participants included 61 women and 20 men with an average age of 60.64±14.05 years. There was a statistically significant difference between the pre and post therapy scores amongst all patients when treated by each individual SLP and all three SLPs combined (P < 0.008). There was a clinically significant change in 66% of all patients, 76% of which presented with abnormal NLHQ scores, and 14% who presented with normal NLHQ scores. Conclusions: A standardized behavioral treatment protocol for patients with symptoms consistent with NLH is effective in improving symptoms in a large majority of patients. When following a standardized protocol SLPs can obtain similar results for their patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Voice
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic cough
  • Neurogenic laryngeal hypersensitivity
  • Newcastle laryngeal hypersensitivity questionnaire
  • Speech language pathology
  • Speech therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Standardized Behavioral Treatment Improves Chronic Cough'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this