Chronic cough is globally prevalent across all age groups. This disorder is challenging to treat because many pulmonary and extrapulmonary conditions can present with chronic cough, and cough can also be present without any identifiable underlying cause or be refractory to therapies that improve associated conditions. Most patients with chronic cough have cough hypersensitivity, which is characterized by increased neural responsivity to a range of stimuli that affect the airways and lungs, and other tissues innervated by common nerve supplies. Cough hypersensitivity presents as excessive coughing often in response to relatively innocuous stimuli, causing significant psychophysical morbidity and affecting patients’ quality of life. Understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to cough hypersensitivity and excessive coughing in different patient populations and across the lifespan is advancing and has contributed to the development of new therapies for chronic cough in adults. Owing to differences in the pathology, the organs involved and individual patient factors, treatment of chronic cough is progressing towards a personalized approach, and, in the future, novel ways to endotype patients with cough may prove valuable in management.