Assessment of Laryngeal Sensory Function using a Tactile Aesthesiometer in Healthy Adults

Yue Ma, Joseph Kidane, Grant E. Gochman, David J. Bracken, Madeleine P. Strohl, Clark A. Rosen, Vy Vy N. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Laryngeal sensory function in healthy adults was assessed through the delivery of tactile stimuli using Cheung–Bearelly monofilaments. Methods: 37 healthy adults were recruited with 340 tactile stimuli analyzed. Four calibrated tactile stimuli were delivered to three laryngeal sites: false vocal fold (FVF), aryepiglottic fold (AEF), and lateral pyriform sinus (LPS). Primary outcome was the elicitation of laryngeal adductor reflex (LAR). Secondary outcomes were gag, patient-reported laryngeal sensation (PRLS), and perceptual strength. Analysis was performed with mixed effects logistic regression modeling. Results: Positive LAR was observed in 35.7%, 70.2%, and 91.2% of stimuli at LPS, AEF, and FVF respectively. LAR rates were significantly associated with laryngopharyngeal subsite (p < 0.001), tactile force (p = 0.001), age (p = 0.022) and sex (p = 0.022). LAR, gag, PRLS, and perceptual strength significantly increased as a more medial laryngeal subsite was stimulated and as stimulus force increased. Each of the ten years of age increase was associated with 19% reduction in odds of LAR (aOR = 0.81, 95% CI [0.68, 0.97]; p = 0.022). Male gender was associated with a 55% reduction in odds of LAR (aOR = 0.45, 95% CI [0.23, 0.89]; p = 0.022). Conclusion: LAR elicitation capability decreases in the male gender, aging, and a more lateral subsite. This study provides insight into the pathophysiology of hypo- and hyper-sensitive laryngeal disorders and is paramount to making accurate diagnostic assessments and finding novel treatment options for various laryngological disorders. Laryngoscope, 133:2525–2532, 2023.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2525-2532
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • asthesiometer
  • healthy adults
  • laryngeal adductor reflex
  • laryngeal sensation
  • sensory topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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