Allergic laryngitis: unraveling the myths

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This article provides a thorough review of the literature highlighting the articles that have advanced our knowledge about the sensitivity of the larynx to allergens in the air or ones consumed. This area of inquiry requires continued interest and investigation. As the field of clinical laryngology changes, and more information is discovered about the possible causal association between allergy and vocal pathologies, practicing otolaryngologists, allergists, and other medical professionals may discover more comprehensive methods to evaluate and treat their allergic patients, particularly those who present with complaints of dysphonia, dysphagia, laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), and/or dyspnea.

Recent findings

There continues to be epidemiological studies designed to describe the relationship of allergy to vocal symptoms and signs. Both population and smaller studies have recently attempted to link these two conditions. Unfortunately, the patient with chronic laryngeal complaints is often tagged by default with the diagnosis of LPR and treated with proton pump inhibitors, which are not always beneficial. The endoscopic assessment may not be as reliable to make the diagnosis of LPR as the examination is subjective and the inter-rater reliability is low. It has been demonstrated by direct laryngeal provocation studies that sticky-viscous endo-laryngeal mucous is the only reliable finding consistently associated with allergy potential allergic tissue reactivity.

Summary

The interrelationship of allergic sensitivity and chronic laryngitis in certain individuals is becoming clearer because our knowledge of inquiry has increased and the available routine technology to diagnose these conditions has remarkably improved. Notwithstanding these advancements, much more research is needed on this subject to reduce the frequency of mis-diagnoses and mis-management of allergic patients.

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