A growing body of evidence suggests that a variety of upper respiratory symptoms (URS) are associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of endoscopic erosive, and non-erosive, oesophagitis among patients complaining of persistent URS, in the absence of typical GORD symptoms, and to compare them with a comparison group of similar age. A group of 110 patients aged 18–75, presenting with persistent URS with no suspicion of GORD symptoms, underwent upper flexible endoscopy, with biopsy sampling for histology, and was compared with a group of 117 patients of similar age undergoing endoscopy for reasons other than GORD. Patients affected with upper airway disorders, such as posterior laryngitis, chronic sinusitis and vocal fold nodules, had a significantly higher prevalence of oesophagitis of varying degrees (31 per cent) compared to the comparison population(15.4 per cent) (p < 0.01). These data suggest that in many patients with chronic URS occult gastro-oesophageal diseases are present.