Laryngitis

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What is laryngitis?

Laryngitis is inflammation of the vocal cords located in the larynx or voice box. The larynx is the voice box that allows us to speak, shout, whisper, and sing. The larynx consists of a cartilage skeleton that houses the vocal cords, which are covered by a mucus lining. Muscles inside the larynx adjust the position, shape, and tension of the vocal cords, allowing the voice to make different sounds like whispering, singing, and shouting. Any change in the air flow (which is generated by the lungs exhaling air) across the vocal cords will affect the voice and the quality of the sound.

The larynx is located at the junction of the mouth and trachea (where air enters the e lungs). There is a flap-like covering called the epiglottis, whose job it is to prevent food and saliva from entering the larynx during swallowing.

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box and vocal cords, causing a person to lose their voice and become hoarse. The quality of the voice becomes gravelly-sounding and sometimes too quiet or soft to hear. Because there is inflammation, throat pain is often an associated symptom. Continue Reading

Picture of the larynx and trachea
Picture of the larynx and trachea

Reviewed on 5/18/2016
References
REFERENCE:

Tintinalli JE, etal. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th edition McGraw hill Professional. 2010.

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