Vocal Nodules in Young Children due to Forceful Coughing

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Make Sure Medical is Being Followed Up On

If the coughing is caused by frequent respiratory problems, make sure the family has access to good medical care and that they are following up with doctor’s recommendations.

Teach Alternatives to Coughing, When Possible

Tell the child that too much coughing is hurting his voice and give him a visual list of alternatives when he feels like he needs to cough.  Options include a hard swallow, a double swallow, chin tuck swallow, taking a drink of water, and softly clearing the throat.  Just make sure that if the child really does need to cough, he doesn’t feel like he’s not allowed to.  We don’t want him to get pneumonia.   Just try to avoid excessive coughing

Keep Hydrated

Making sure the vocal folds stay hydrated will help.  Also, adding some honey to warm drinks will help reduce coughing.  Avoid caffeine that will dry out the folds

Improve Other Aspects of Communication

If you can’t avoid the coughing, try to improve the child’s communication as much as possible.  Work on any articulation problems and possibly teach the child to overarticulate if that helps to compensate for the weak voice.  Teach the child to use gestures and body language if his message is not understood.  If the child has no voice as a result of this, consider some AAC systems as backup measures.