Laryngitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the voice box (larynx), typically caused by factors such as overuse, irritation, or infection. Within the larynx are the vocal cords, consisting of mucous membrane folds covering muscle and cartilage. Under normal circumstances, these vocal cords open and close smoothly, producing sounds through their movement and vibration.

However, in cases of laryngitis, the vocal cords become inflamed or irritated, leading to swelling that distorts the sounds produced as air passes over them. Consequently, individuals with laryngitis experience hoarseness in their voice, and in severe cases, their voice may become nearly inaudible.

Laryngitis can manifest as either a short-lived (acute) or long-lasting (chronic) condition. Most often, it is triggered by a temporary viral infection and is not considered serious. However, persistent hoarseness may be indicative of a more serious underlying medical issue. It is important to be attentive to such symptoms and seek medical attention if needed.


The majority of the time, laryngitis is caused by a mild illness, such a virus, and its symptoms disappear after a few weeks. Less frequently, a more serious or persistent issue is the cause of laryngitis symptoms. Signs and symptoms of laryngitis might include:

  • A tingling and raw feeling in your throat
  • Losing your voice or weak voice
  • Sore throat
  • Dry throat
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarseness

The majority of acute cases of laryngitis can be treated with self-care techniques including vocal rest and lots of water. Vocal cord injury can occur by using your voice excessively when experiencing an acute case of laryngitis.

Should the symptoms of your laryngitis persist for longer than two weeks, schedule a visit with a doctor.

Contact your doctor immediately if you:

  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Have a persistently high fever
  • Feel discomfort growing over several weeks
  • Coughing out blood

Contact your child’s doctor immediately if your child:

  • More frequent drooling
  • Is running a fever
  • Has difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • When breathing in, produces loud, high-pitched sounds (stridor).

These symptoms and indicators could point to croup, which is an inflammation of the airway directly below the larynx. While most cases of croup can be handled at home, more severe cases need to be seen by a doctor. These signs may also point to epiglottitis, an inflammation of the tissue covering the trachea (the windpipe), which can be fatal to both adults and children.


How speech is produced.

Speech is a process initiated by the flow of air from the lungs through the trachea and the voice box, known as the larynx. As the vocal cords within the larynx vibrate, sound is generated. The shaping of this sound into words is accomplished by the coordinated action of muscles controlling the soft palate, tongue, and lips. Notably, the vocal cords open during inhalation and subsequently close during exhalation, facilitating the production of sound through their vibration.

Acute laryngitis

The majority of laryngitis instances are transient and get better when the underlying cause resolves. Acute laryngitis can be caused by:

  • Viral infections that resemble common colds
  • Vocal strain brought on by shouting or using your voice excessively
  • Bacterial infections, but less frequent
  • Yeast infection

Chronic laryngitis

Chronic laryngitis is defined as laryngitis that persists for more than three weeks. Over time, irritation from several sources is usually the cause of this kind of laryngitis. Vocal cord tension, injuries, or growths on the vocal cords (polyps or nodules) can be caused by chronic laryngitis. Possible causes of chronic laryngitis include:

  • Inhaled irritants, including smoke, allergies, or chemical fumes.
  • Acid reflux, sometimes known as GERD (gastric reflux disease)
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Overuse of voice regularly (cheerleaders, singers, etc.)
  • Smoking
  • The following are less typical causes of chronic laryngitis:
  • Infections from fungus or bacteria
  • Parasitic infections

Additional reasons for persistent hoarseness consist of:

  • Vocal cord paralysis, which can be brought on by cancer, nerve problems, surgical nerve damage, trauma to the chest or neck, or other medical issues.
  • Vocal cords bowing
  • Cancer

Risk factors

Among the laryngitis risk factors are:

  • Experiencing a respiratory illness, like a sinusitis, bronchitis, or cold
  • Being around irritating things like chemicals at work, cigarette smoke, heavy alcohol consumption, or stomach acid
  • Excessive vocal use, such as shouting, singing, or speaking excessively loudly.
  • Fungal laryngitis can affect those who are immunocompromised or who are using inhaled steroids.