Most cases of laryngitis are temporary and improve after the underlying cause gets better. Causes of acute laryngitis include:
- Viral infections similar to those that cause a cold
- Vocal strain, caused by yelling or overusing your voice
- Bacterial infections, such as diphtheria, although this is rare, in large part due to increasing rates of vaccination
Laryngitis that lasts longer than three weeks is known as chronic laryngitis. This type of laryngitis is generally caused by exposure to irritants over time. Chronic laryngitis can cause vocal cord strain and injuries or growths on the vocal cords (polyps or nodules). These injuries can be caused by:
- Inhaled irritants, such as chemical fumes, allergens or smoke
- Acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Chronic sinusitis
- Excessive alcohol use
- Habitual overuse of your voice (such as with singers or cheerleaders)
Less common causes of chronic laryngitis include:
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Infections with certain parasites
Other causes of chronic hoarseness include:
April 21, 2015
- Vocal cord paralysis, which can result from injury, stroke, a lung tumor or other health conditions
- Bowing of the vocal cords in old age
- Taking care of your voice. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/pages/takingcare.aspx. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Bruch, JM et al. Hoarseness in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Laryngitis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Laryngitis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear_nose_and_throat_disorders/laryngeal_disorders/laryngitis.html?qt=laryngitis&alt=sh. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Fact sheet: Common problems that can affect your voice. American Academy of Otalaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/common-problems-can-affect-your-voice. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Fact sheet: The voice and aging. American Academy of Otalaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/content/voice-and-aging. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Kahrilas PJ. Complications of gastroesophageal reflux in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Laryngitis. ExitCare. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier, Inc.; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Apr. 7, 2015.
- Croup. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/respiratory_disorders_in_young_children/croup.html?qt=croup&alt=sh. Accessed April 7, 2015.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 7, 2015.
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