Development and validation of the Newcastle laryngeal hypersensitivity questionnaire

Cough. 2014 Feb 19;10(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1745-9974-10-1.


Background: Laryngeal hypersensitivity may be an important component of the common disorders of laryngeal motor dysfunction including chronic refractory cough, pdoxical vocal fold movement (vocal cord dysfunction), muscle tension dysphonia, and globus pharyngeus. Patients with these conditions frequently report sensory disturbances, and an emerging concept of the 'irritable larynx' suggests common features of a sensory neuropathic dysfunction as a part of these disorders. The aim of this study was to develop a Laryngeal Hypersensitivity Questionnaire for patients with laryngeal dysfunction syndromes in order to measure the laryngeal sensory disturbance occurring in these conditions.

Methods: The 97 participants included 82 patients referred to speech pathology for behavioural management of laryngeal dysfunction and 15 healthy controls. The participants completed a 21 item self administered questionnaire regarding symptoms of abnormal laryngeal sensation. Factor analysis was conducted to examine correlations between items. Discriminant analysis and responsiveness to change were evaluated.

Results: The final questionnaire comprised 14 items across three domains: obstruction, pain/thermal, and irritation. The questionnaire demonstrated significant discriminant validity with a mean difference between the patients with laryngeal disorders and healthy controls of 5.5. The clinical groups with laryngeal hypersensitivity had similar abnormal scores. Furthermore the Newcastle Laryngeal Hypersensitivity Questionnaire (LHQ) showed improvement following behavioural speech pathology intervention with a mean reduction in LHQ score of 2.3.

Conclusion: The Newcastle Laryngeal Hypersensitivity Questionnaire is a simple, non-invasive tool to measure laryngeal pesthesia in patients with laryngeal conditions such as chronic cough, pdoxical vocal fold movement (vocal cord dysfunction), muscle tension dysphonia, and globus pharyngeus. It can successfully differentiate patients from healthy controls and measure change following intervention. It is a promising tool for use in clinical research and practice.