Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation or infection.
Inside the larynx are your vocal cords — two folds of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage. Normally, your vocal cords open and close smoothly, forming sounds through their movement and vibration.
But in laryngitis, your vocal cords become inflamed or irritated. This swelling causes distortion of the sounds produced by air passing over them. As a result, your voice sounds hoarse. In some cases of laryngitis, your voice can become almost undetectable.
Laryngitis may be short-lived (acute) or long lasting (chronic). Most cases of laryngitis are triggered by a temporary viral infection or vocal strain and aren't serious. Persistent hoarseness can sometimes signal a more serious underlying medical condition.
April 21, 2015
- 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.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.