Effects of Cough Suppression Therapy on Voice Disorder Severity

Laryngoscope. 2021 Dec;131(12):2747-2751. doi: 10.1002/lary.29705. Epub 2021 Jun 24.


Objectives//hypothesis: To determine changes in voice severity when treating chronic cough refractory to medical treatment with cough suppression therapy (CST) in patients with chronic cough and voice complaints. Chronic cough has been reported to be refractory to medical treatment and frequently co-occurs with voice disorders. The possible effects of CST on self-assessed changes in chronic cough and voice disorders have not been demonstrated.

Study design: Retrospective analysis of the effects of cough suppression therapy (CST) on self-assessed changes in chronic cough and voice disorder severity in patients with both chronic cough and voice disorders.

Methods: Forty-three adult patients with the primary complaint of chronic refractory cough underwent pre- and post-treatment diagnostic examinations, completed pre- and post-treatment Voice Handicap Index-10 (VHI-10) and Cough Severity Index assessments, and were treated by a licensed speech-language pathologist using CST. Twenty-seven subjects were assigned to the cough (C) group and 16 to the cough-voice (CV) group based on the severity of their VHI-10 scores.

Results: Post-test analysis showed significant improvement in cough severity for both groups and significant improvement in voice severity for the CV group. The VHI-10 scores for the C group did not change significantly. The median number of treatment sessions was 3, with a range of 1-13 sessions. Correlation between changes in severity and number of treatment sessions was not found to be significant at the tested level.

Conclusions: CST represents a unifying approach for treatment of patients with CRC and comorbid voice disorders. CST offered cross-over effects to the voice when subjects were treated for their primary complaint of chronic cough. This treatment of the primary complaint improves function in systems that share a common pathway.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 131:2747-2751, 2021.

Keywords: Chronic refractory cough; cough severity; cough suppression therapy; voice disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breathing Exercises / methods*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Cough / complications
  • Cough / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Voice Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Voice Disorders / etiology
  • Voice Disorders / therapy
  • Voice Quality
  • Young Adult