Throat-clearing could be sign co-work...

Throat-clearing could be sign co-worker has medical condition

There are 205 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jun 19, 2008, titled Throat-clearing could be sign co-worker has medical condition. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

D ear Amy: I work in an office where we sit in cubicles. A new hire has a very annoying habit of clearing his throat and making grunting sounds constantly.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.


Phoenix, AZ

#198 Jun 21, 2008
throat-clearing, I'm in the same crowd that believes Amy has no business giving advice, given her clear dislike of men and her inability to admit to error. But you're overreacting.

The mere suggestion that it might POSSIBLY be a neurological condition is in no way irresponsible.
Been There

Orange, CT

#199 Jun 21, 2008
Years ago, a guy we worked with would make all kinds of noises. Mostly saying "LA LA LA" in a high pitched voice. One day I brought in a tape recorder and recorded him for about fifteen minutes. After playing the recording back to him he finally realized how annoying he sounded and stopped cold turkey. I don't think he knew how silly he sounded. Give it a try...

Elmhurst, IL

#200 Jun 21, 2008
Amy has absolutely no right to even suggest that Tourette's Syndrome has anything to do with the throat clearing that is being displayed by the new cubicle dweller. What Amy did was 100% irresponsible. Now the second part about going to HR is more reasonable.
Animal Writes

United States

#201 Jun 21, 2008
Anon wrote:
How many times must it be said? Gifts should never be referenced on an invitation! I don't care how noble the suggestion is or how much you need it... NO!
Well said!

Phoenix, AZ

#202 Jun 21, 2008

There was nothing irresponsible about the mere suggestion.

Burlington, WI

#203 Jun 22, 2008
It isn't irresponsible At All to suggest a medical reason for someone's annoying habits - it promotes sympathy and understanding.
Using Tourette's as an example - so what?

San Antonio, TX

#204 Jun 22, 2008
Or maybe the guy is constantly clearing his throat because he has post-nasal drip. Why Amy would jump to the conclusion that he has Tourette's is beyond me! That said, he needs to see a doctor. I can't imagine that feeling the need to clear his throat that frequently isn't annoying to him, as well.

Elmhurst, IL

#205 Jun 22, 2008
Teknikcality wrote:
Or maybe the guy is constantly clearing his throat because he has post-nasal drip. Why Amy would jump to the conclusion that he has Tourette's is beyond me! That said, he needs to see a doctor. I can't imagine that feeling the need to clear his throat that frequently isn't annoying to him, as well.
Thank you - I agree with you completely. Why the jump to Tourette's. Amy is not qualified to make that determination and so is irresponsible for even suggesting it.

Phoenix, AZ

#206 Jun 22, 2008
What part of POSSIBILITY escapes those of you who are so easily offended????

Since: May 08

San Pedro, CA

#207 Jun 22, 2008
Nick wrote:
Someone on my office clears their throat all day long and it is very annoying and distracting. To the person doing it: I do not care if it is a medical condition. Fix it. We are sick of you and hate you.
Nick, they have medication for that. Hatred is unhealthy for you and those around you.

Elmhurst, IL

#208 Jun 22, 2008
throat-clearing wrote:
I must respond to those of you who posted replies to my original comment. Amy's suggestion that the medical condition "might" be Tourette's is completely irresponsible and indefensible. Although it SOUNDS inoffensive, it is human nature to interpret the fact that she only named one particular condition means that it is the only possibility. This is true even if the reader keeps it in the back of his or her mind that she only meant it as a single possibility. If only one choice among many has a name, which one do you think you're going to remember?
It seems to me that Amy put forth the notion that he might have Tourette's because it was the only one she could think of at the time she wrote her column. I *am* a professional working in an allied health field -- anyone trained in pathologies of the throat or larynx knows that the severity of the signs and symptoms of throat pathologies often do not match the severity of the actual condition. Mild constant throat-clearing COULD be a sign of something as severe as metastatic cancer, whereas a harsh gravelly voice and heavy cough could just mean the person has the flu or stood too close to the backyard grill while the steaks were cooking. The reverse and all shades of gray in between could also be true.
So please don't be so quick to forgive Amy's irresponsibility so easily. She should not have put forth any particular disorder at all and left her comments simply at the level that the throat-clearing coworker might have a medical condition. She did not have to be more specific than that.
Nicely stated - Amy needs to read this comment.
Cubicle Coughs

United States

#209 Jun 22, 2008
His coughing might be allergies. I had an allergy medication that stopped my coughing, but it made me so uncomfortable physically I stopped taking it. It was only when my sister mentioned my cough sounded "bad" that I realized I was making others miserable with my allergies.

Fortunately, my doctor and I had talked about the various allergy medications available and I was able to try something new from that list.

Sometimes hoof beats are only horses.

Evanston, IL

#220 Jun 24, 2008
Rebecca wrote:
It stresses me out so much that I sometimes just want to elope so no one has to buy any presents or do anything for us.
Nobody *has* to do anything for you. I've pretty much stopped giving wedding presents because everyone I know getting married doesn't need anything--mostly they've either lived together for years or are trying to consolidate two households into one.

It's tacky to even mention anything about gifts of any kind on any invitation. Ever.

Evanston, IL

#221 Jun 24, 2008
LaryK wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you - I agree with you completely. Why the jump to Tourette's. Amy is not qualified to make that determination and so is irresponsible for even suggesting it.
I work in a medical setting and I agree--if you aren't a medical professional, you shouldn't be making a diagnosis.

Phoenix, AZ

#222 Jun 24, 2008
BUt it wasn't a diagnosis.

It was a suggestion.

That's a pretty massive leap to call it a "diagnosis".

Monroe, NC

#223 Apr 19, 2009
Thoat clearing is not a medical condition! It's workplace terrorism!
Somalia Sam

United States

#224 Apr 19, 2009
Don't you know that all this "Dear Amy" stuff is fictional writing exercises for people who want to become writers and use these made up stories to exercise their writing skills. You nimwits.
Theannoyingthroa tclearer

Laramie, WY

#225 Apr 3, 2013
I've had a throat-clearing problem my whole life. Went in at age 7, doc said it was all in my head. When I have asked doctors about it in recent years, they look at me like I'm making stuff up. I get phlegm coming out often, and sometimes it's so much build up I can't even talk.

Please don't be so rude as to think I enjoy hacking and coughing every five minutes. I'm completely embarrassed to have this condition and it annoys me when I clear my throat FAR more than it annoys you. Sometimes I sit in tortured silence waiting for a long enough gap to clear my throat just to not "annoy" someone like you people.

Get off your high horses. Some of us can't find the cure we need.
Live Love and Laugh

Allentown, PA

#226 Apr 4, 2013
I've had these issues for many years. Allergies and Sinus problems can be the result of air born sensitivities like, tree, grass and plant pollens, pollution, dust, perfumes. Food allergies can also be a problem. Prescription drugs and inhalers can help but it's also important to avoid the allergen that is affecting you. That's not easy and almost impossible to avoid everything that may be ailing you, but keeping windows closed on a high pollen day can be helpful, in addition to keeping you air conditioner on. Clean filters regularly and keep your home as dust free and free of contaminants as much as you can. If you are the one mowing your lawn, wear a mask specifically suited for allergy sufferers. Drink plenty of water to keep nasal passages and throat open and clearer.
Psychology Today

Spring, TX

#227 Jul 2, 2013
I've seen Zimmerman in court and he looks like something you'd see in a zoo. Even when the camera is on him, he scratches and looks at the clock. He has a flat affect just as he did when he murdered someone.

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