Some people like the sound of a raspy, scratchy voice, but usually not when it’s the result of a medical condition. Laryngitis occurs when the larynx, or voice box, is inflamed, causing a distortion in the voice as sounds pass through swelling. Luckily the condition often sounds more painful then it is, and unless it’s caused by something contagious, like a virus, it can’t be passed from person to person.
The Symptoms of Laryngitis
The tell-tale sign of laryngitis is hoarseness or voice loss. In some instances, you may also experience:
- Sore throat
- Tickling or irritation in throat
- Dry throat
- Pain when swallowing
Is all laryngitis the same?
No. Acute laryngitis is caused by minor irritation and is temporary. On the other hand, chronic laryngitis is much more persistent.The causes differ as well, with acute usually a result of a cold or flu and chronic often a side effect of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Mayo Clinic lists the additional causes of each type of laryngitis:
- Viral infections
- Vocal strain, caused by yelling or overusing your voice
- Bacterial infections
- Chronic laryngitis (common to rare):
- Inhaled irritants, such as chemical fumes, allergens or smoke
- Chronic sinusitis
- Excessive alcohol use
- Habitual overuse of your voice
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Infections with certain parasites
- Vocal cord paralysis, which can result from injury, stroke, a lung tumor or other health conditions
- Bowing of the vocal cords in old age
Mayo Clinic also warns that chronic laryngitis “can cause vocal cord strain and injuries or growths on the vocal cords (polyps or nodules).”
If you suspect you are experiencing chronic laryngitis, it’s time to speak up. Our expert laryngology physicians at Connecticut’s own Westwood ENT provide comprehensive care for throat conditions and will be able to diagnose what is going on with yours. Once the cause is determined, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that is the right fit for you.
Call us at (888) 230-3715 and schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices — Kent, Litchfield, Shelton and Waterbury — and find your voice again.
For information on all things ear, nose and throat, visit the Westwood ENT website and blog