Odor Induced Laryngeal Hypersensitivity The clinical presentation of odor hypersensitivity is highly variable. Symptoms may range from a mild response, such as altered breathing patterns or a cough triggered by airborne irritants (Van den Bergh et al., 1999), to more severe reactions, including laryngospasm and respiratory distress (Maceri & Zim, 2001). For some ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2006
Odor Induced Laryngeal Hypersensitivity
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amanda Gillespie
    University of Pittsburgh Voice Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jackie Gartner-Schmidt
    University of Pittsburgh Voice Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2006
Odor Induced Laryngeal Hypersensitivity
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, March 2006, Vol. 16, 10-15. doi:10.1044/vvd16.1.10
SIG 3 Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders, March 2006, Vol. 16, 10-15. doi:10.1044/vvd16.1.10
The clinical presentation of odor hypersensitivity is highly variable. Symptoms may range from a mild response, such as altered breathing patterns or a cough triggered by airborne irritants (Van den Bergh et al., 1999), to more severe reactions, including laryngospasm and respiratory distress (Maceri & Zim, 2001). For some individuals, odor hypersensitivity triggers associated laryngeal reactivity, and contributes to a diagnosis of Irritable Larynx Syndrome (ILS). This association between odor and laryngeal hypersensitivity is of clinical interest and concern to the speech-language pathologist.
According to Morrison, Rammage, and Emami (1999), the three criteria that must be present in order to make a diagnosis of ILS include visible evidence of laryngeal tension, palpable evidence of laryngeal tension, and the presence of a sensory trigger. Irritable Larynx Syndrome is thought to occur when there is a change in the neural plasticity (i.e., altered central neuronal control of the larynx; Gallivan & Andrianopoulos, 2004) in the central nervous system. The condition is thought to alter and hyper-excite the sensory response to irritants, such as those posed by gastroesophageal reflux disease (Morrison, et al.). Consequently, the laryngeal sensory response becomes increasingly vulnerable to local irritants, such as gastric reflux. Direct exposure of the laryngeal tissues to reflux irritants or other inflammatory agents may stimulate coughing and laryngospasms (Hanson & Jiang, 2000).
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