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Let's talk about cough

  • Posted by Annie,
  • Deputy Director,
  • in Listen up,
  • May '24

Bethan introduces One in Ten, a new audio experience to raise awareness of chronic cough, which you can visit in Manchester this month.

I work in healthcare and live with my two teenage children. In my spare time I love going to theatres in and around Manchester.

Back in 2019, one of my colleagues told me about a research engagement project for people who have chronic coughs and wondered if I would like to take part. I was a bit confused. It was then that I realised that the cough I had had for many years, and just accepted as now being part of my life, was visible (and audible) to the people around me!

I attended the first Let’s Talk about Cough session, not quite sure what to expect. Research sounds very clinical, but it was actually a very sociable meeting.

It was great to meet other people who live with chronic cough, exchanging stories that made us both laugh and cry.

Researchers and clinicians were also listening and taking part in our story exchange sessions. We talked about how having a cough affected our lives and then discussed different ways in which we might be able to explain it to a wider audience, even including stand-up comedy - which definitely grabbed my attention!

It was eye-opening to many of us to realise that chronic cough is being researched and new treatments being developed. This galvanised me into going back to my GP and asking for a referral, realising that I maybe don’t just have to live with these symptoms and that there is help available.

When the pandemic hit, our meet ups continued online. As the project developed, we became creative. One in 10 people suffer from chronic cough so how do we get people to understand it better? Our answer is the One in Ten audio experience which guides the listener to think about chronic cough from the perspective of those living with it and those researching it to understand it better. As one of the participants said, “my cough is an alien in my body.”

One in Ten helps clinicians, health professionals, colleagues and friends who are affected by someone’s chronic cough, to hear about it from a fresh perspective. It will increase awareness and understanding of the condition and hopefully help those of us affected by it feel less isolated and better understood.

Being part of the project has made me more aware of the work that goes on behind the scenes to bring new treatments and drugs to patients. It has helped me to see that research isn't just a clinical process but one that takes patients views into account using creative methods.

You can hear the audio experience and meet some of the people involved in making it at the SICK! Festival in Manchester on 25th May and at Manchester Festival of Libraries on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th June.

You can also hear One in Ten at Let’s Talk About Cough