The most common cause of hoarseness is inflammation of the vocal cords from a
viral infection. Hoarseness also may be caused by
- bacterial infections,
- overuse of the voice (such as from yelling or singing),
- inhaling irritants like cigarette smoke, etc.,
- chronic sinusitis,
- GERD (acid reflux),
- tuberculosis (TB),
- syphilis, and
What is laryngitis?
The definition of laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx (the voice box that contains the vocal cords). In laryngitis the vocal
cords that are responsible for sounds made by the voice become inflamed and
possibly swollen, which results in a voice change that may sound hoarse, raspy,
or low-volume; so that others can hardly hear what you say. Laryngitis may be
acute or chronic, although most cases are acute and not serious. There are both
infectious and noninfectious causes of laryngitis.
Is laryngitis contagious?
The most common cause of laryngitis is a viral infection that lasts about 1
to 2 weeks. Other common causes of laryngitis are overuse of the larynx
(singing, shouting for example) or exposure to an irritant. However, other more
serious conditions (for example, cancer of the throat) may infrequently cause
The viruses that cause laryngitis are
not very contagious. Most researchers suggest that the most contagious time frame for
laryngitis is when the infected person has a fever. Less frequent causes
of laryngitis that are
potentially contagious are bacterial, and rarely, fungal infection.
Other causes of laryngitis that are not contagious are
- mechanical overuse of the larynx (for example, strenuous singing or talking),
- chemical irritants (pollutants), or
- other underlying medical problems (throat cancer, for example) that cause laryngitis are not considered to be contagious.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/10/2015