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Your larynx contains two folds known as your “vocal cords”. These flaps of mucous membrane form sound as we speak by opening and closing. Laryngitis occurs when the vocal cords become inflamed and irritated.
- Hoarseness or raspiness
- Voice loss
- Irritation or “tickling” in the throat
- Dryness in the throat
Laryngitis is usually diagnosed as acute (meaning that symptoms are temporary) or chronic (meaning that symptoms have been present for several weeks).
- Vocal strain, brought on by overuse of the voice or yelling
- Viral infections (like the common cold or acute bronchitis)
- Bacterial/ fungal infections (these are less common)
- Prolonged exposure to irritants (e.g., smoke, chemical fumes, or allergens)
- Chronic acid reflux (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD)
- Persistent overuse of the voice
- Tobacco and alcohol use
- Vocal cord paralysis
Respiratory infections such as a cold, bronchitis, or sinusitis regularly cause symptoms of laryngitis.
In most cases, laryngitis will last a few weeks and then go away with mild self-care strategies. If your symptoms do not go away within 2 weeks, talk to a health care provider to discuss your condition.