Assessing laryngeal function and hypersensitivity

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Jun:56:108-115. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2019.04.003. Epub 2019 Apr 18.


The larynx is one of the most highly innervated organs in humans, adapted to simultaneously deliver several key respiratory functions including airway protection, swallowing and phonation. In some individuals the larynx can adopt a state that could be considered 'dysfunctional' or maladaptive; resulting in or contributing to a range of clinical disorders such as chronic refractory cough, inducible laryngeal obstruction (previously termed paradoxical vocal fold movement or vocal cord dysfunction), muscle tension dysphonia and globus pharyngeus. These disorders appear to display significant overlap in clinical symptomology and in many cases have features of concomitant or allied sensory dysfunction; often described as laryngeal hypersensitivity. The recognition and accurate assessment of both laryngeal dysfunction±hypersensitivity is important to ensure accurate diagnosis and effective delivery of targeted treatment and therapeutic monitoring. Accordingly, there is increasing in the methodologies proposed to assess laryngeal function. These range from simple questionnaires to targeted investigation(s), assessing both sensory function and the laryngeal motor response, under both resting and provoked situations. This review provides a brief overview of the current state of knowledge in the field of laryngeal dysfunction and hypersensitivity assessment.

Keywords: Cough; Dyspnoea; Larynx; Throat; Wheeze.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cough / etiology
  • Cough / physiopathology
  • Dysphonia / etiology
  • Dysphonia / physiopathology
  • Globus Sensation / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Laryngeal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Laryngeal Diseases / therapy
  • Larynx / physiology*
  • Larynx / physiopathology