Laryngitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the voice box (larynx). The problem is most often associated with hoarseness or loss of voice.
Hoarseness - laryngitis
The voice box (larynx) is located at the top of the airway to the lungs (trachea). The larynx contains the vocal cords. When the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they swell. This can cause hoarseness. Sometimes, the airway can get blocked.
The most common form of laryngitis is an infection caused by a virus. It may also be caused by:
Laryngitis often occurs with an upper respiratory infection, which is typically caused by a virus.
Several forms of laryngitis occur in children that can lead to dangerous or fatal respiratory blockage. These forms include:
Symptoms may include:
Common laryngitis is often caused by a virus, so antibiotics likely will not help. Your health care provider will make this decision.
Resting your voice helps to reduce inflammation of the vocal cords. A humidifier may soothe the scratchy feeling that comes with laryngitis. Decongestants and pain medicines may relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.
Seth Cohen is an Otolaryngologist in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Cohen has been practicing medicine for over 22 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Laryngitis. He is also highly rated in 14 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Spasmodic Dysphonia, Perichondritis, Laryngitis, and Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis. He is board certified in Otolaryngology and licensed to treat patients in North Carolina. Dr. Cohen is currently accepting new patients.
Lee Akst is an Otolaryngologist in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Akst has been practicing medicine for over 23 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Laryngitis. He is also highly rated in 25 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Laryngitis, Spasmodic Dysphonia, Perichondritis, and Throat Cancer. He is board certified in Otolaryngology and licensed to treat patients in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Dr. Akst is currently accepting new patients.
Claudia Eckley is in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Eckley is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Laryngitis. She is also highly rated in 4 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Laryngitis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Croup, and Perichondritis.
Laryngitis that is not caused by a serious condition often gets better on its own.
In rare cases, severe respiratory distress develops. This requires immediate medical attention.
Call your provider if:
To prevent getting laryngitis:
Allen CT, Nussenbaum B, Merati AL. Acute and chronic laryngopharyngitis. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 61.
Flint PW. Throat disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 401.
Rodrigues KK, Roosevelt GE. Acute inflammatory upper airway obstruction (croup, epiglottitis, laryngitis, and bacterial tracheitis). In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier;2020:chap 412.