Chronic cough is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctor's office. The impact of chronic cough includes:
Physical side effects – damage to the voice box or larynx, fatigue, and in severe cases pulled muscles, cracked ribs, incontinence, fainting, and vomiting
Social side effects – embarrassment, loss of productivity, limiting social activities
Financial side effects – costs of health-care consultations and medications
Medical treatment of cough, involving withdrawing certain medications or treating allergies, asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, is effective in the majority of cases. However, despite the application of this treatment approach, cough persists in approximately 20% of patients.
Chronic cough that has not responded to medical treatment can be treated effectively with speech pathology/therapy intervention. One research study revealed 87% of patients improved after participating in therapy.
Treatment teaches strategies to inhibit, suppress, delay, or interrupt cough and reduce cough stimulation. Examples of these strategies include:
Adherence to a vocal hygiene program to maximize hydration and reduce laryngeal irritation is also part of the program.