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  • Writer's pictureJanet Savva

What is a Chronic Cough?

Updated: Mar 27

A chronic cough is a cough that last for more than 8 weeks.  It is essential that anyone who experiences a cough lasting for more than 8 weeks see a doctor to investigate the cause.


Causes of a Chronic Cough


There can be many causes for a chronic cough.  Common cause can include:


  • Viral infections such as a colds or flu

  • Aspiration (swallowed material entering the airway) due to dysphagia (a swallowing impairment)  link dysphagia blog

  • Asthma, Allergies, Rhinosinusitis (inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses)

  • Certain medications e.g. ACE inhibitors such as Ramipril

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (emphysema),


Symptoms of a Chronic Cough


As well as a persistent cough, a chronic cough may occur with other throat symptoms such as:




How can Speech and Language Therapy help with a Chronic Cough?


As a Speech and Language Therapist I have an expert knowledge about the complexities of larynx and upper airway. I will work with you to assess and diagnose your chronic cough.  You may require a consultation by a Respiratory Physician to rule out any lower respiratory tract illness such as asthma or COPD.  You may also require an examination of upper airway and larynx (voice box) by an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant to aid diagnosis and treatment planning. 


At your initial consultation I will take a comprehensive case history which will include a review of your medical history, any medications you take regularly and your lifestyle.  We will explore how these could be impacting on your cough.   I will work with you to identify the triggers of your cough and coach you in strategies to suppress any habitual coughing and throat clearing behaviours. 


You may need to return for individual behavioural therapy in which I will coach you in a variety of activities aimed at raising your awareness of your cough behaviour, addressing any vocal tract health issues or vocal behaviours that may be contributing to your cough.


The number of therapy sessions you require will depend on the cause and severity of your chronic cough or any contributing medical problems, but typically 2-4 sessions are usually required.  However most importantly your progress will be influenced by your commitment to making lifestyle changes and practicing your therapy activities outside of sessions.     


Contact me for a free 15 minute telephone consultation to see if I can help you.

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