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Brockport / Health Center / Common Ailments / Laryngitis

Laryngitis

What is it?

  • Laryngitis is most frequently described as hoarseness or a change in quality of the voice
  • This hoarseness may last up to 3 weeks

Signs and Symptoms

  • Strained voice quality
  • Vocal tremor
  • Vocal weakness
  • Altered pitch
  • Breathy voice

Causes

  • Viral infection/URI
    • Most frequent cause
    • Usually is associated with a runny nose, cough and sore throat
  • Irritants
    • Any chemical exposure
    • Gastric reflux
    • Chronic post-nasal drip
    • Chronic sinusitis
    • Chronic alcohol use
    • Tobacco smoke
  • Polyps
    • May be secondary to smoking or reflux
    • Seen more frequently in men
  • Nodules
    • Also called “singer’s” or “screamer’s” nodules
    • Often seen in the setting of vocal abuse
    • More frequently seen in women and children
  • Functional dysphonia (”Hoarseness”)
    • Usually affects people with occupations that cause vocal stress, such as teachers or singers

Treatment

  • Rest – of the body as well as the voice
  • Avoid whispering – it puts more strain on the vocal cords
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Humidify the air – if it is moist, it will decrease the stress to your vocal cords
  • Avoid known irritants
  • Antibiotics are not helpful unless there is another bacterial infection as well

When to seek treatment

  • If it lasts greater than 2 to 3 weeks
  • If there is no known trigger, especially if you use tobacco and alcohol products

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Last Updated 5/21/12

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